Romanian celebrations – The Day of the 40 Holy Martyrs

Bonefires, ©viewmountain/Flickr

Bonefires, ©viewmountain/Flickr

It is well known that Romanians are very traditional and they love religious celebrations. Throughout the whole year there are several holidays which they celebrate in their own unique way, sometimes every city and village has their own traditions and special ways of holding a festival. The day of the 40 holy martyrs is among the important and major celebrations in Romania loved by the whole nation. In case you pass through Romania around the 9th of March, make sure you attend in lovely this event. Be part of the Romanian culture, try the ’mucenici’ bagel and celebrate together with the Romanian nation.

Special bagels

On the 9th of March the whole country of Romania celebreates the Day of the 40 Holy Martyrs which marks the beginning of the Agrarian Year. This day is the officially the last day of winter and opens up for spring when people can start casting seeds and work on the fields. Being an agrarian celebration this day is dedicated to earth and homemakers prepare bagels which symbolize the cycles of the seasons. These special bagels are called ’mucenici’ and they are brought to church in front of the priest so he can hallow them, after which the bagle is give to gathered people.

Mucenici, ©nicubunu.photo/Flickr

Mucenici, ©nicubunu.photo/Flickr

40 martyrs – 40 glasses of wine

After the hallowing everyone lights a candle for the deceased souls for it is believed that on this day all the dead souls come to Earth and celebrate together with their loved ones. Tradition also says that people are to drink 40 glasses of red wine which during the year will turn into blood and will make them healthy and stronger. Even if one does not drink the wine should have a taste or let oneself be sprinkled with it. This custom originates from the ancient holiday of Bacchus which was celebrated on the spring equinox.

Bonefires, ©viewmountain/Flickr

Bonefires, ©viewmountain/Flickr

Bonefires and holy water

On the day of this celebration all the young people in the villages gather together and light big fires with the intention if banishing evil spirits because it is believed that in early spring witch-crafters and malefic forced tend to be invoked. Around the fire the wine and the mucenici are placed on a table so the dead souls can come and feast on them as well. This is also the day when the priests come with holy water and purify the houses.

Holy water, ©IrishFireside/Flickr

Holy water, ©IrishFireside/Flickr

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