Traditions20 December 2019

Christmas in Romania: between tradition and modernity

Abundance: the word that would best describe the winter holidays in Romanian

The Christmas lunch

The Christmas lunch

Whether they live in the village or in a town, the Romanians prepare rich dishes during the Christmas period. Although traditions are changing and things are not like a hundred years ago, the Romanian Christmas, situated between tradition and modernity, kept the ritual exaggeration of the winter holiday. Some of Romanian prefers to prepare the food at home and wait the carol singers, while others prefer to go and buy all the food for Christmas. In this way, the supermarkets become crowded and this is the theme of the Romanian television a few days before Christmas.

Together with the changes, with the loans from other people, in the cities of Romania emerged the Christmas fairs. Contrary to the fairs of the Germanic peoples, here predominates the meat, although in the period before Christmas is the fast.

In the days of the feast, 24, 25 and 26 December for the Romanians things are well established: on December 24, the feast is celebrated in the community, on December 25 is Christmas Day that almost necessarily happens with the family. Only on December 26, people begin to visit relatives and friends. The custom of singing Christmas carols on the streets and in the people’s homes is better kept in the regions of Bucovina and Maramures. In urban areas, the custom is going to disappear. Sometimes, just the kids and friends can make a visit to sing the songs of Christmas.

There is also the art form of singing these songs. One such example is the phenomenon Hrusca Stefan, one of the most famous artists of Christmas songs. For Romanians, he is a symbol of Christmas and many families cannot imagine these days without Stefan Hrusca.

Who is interesting to popular carols, the "Icons" band of the Music Academy "Gheorghe Dima" from Cluj-Napoca, has a repertoire of carols that shows the archaic substrate of these songs. The ancient texts of carols describe aspects of human life, and in a family that receives the group of singers, there are carols for all members, depending on age, profession and social group. So, Romanian holidays involve an arsenal of new and old traditions, some invented in recent years. Things evolve, but the abundance and the religious meanings of this period remain a feature of the Romanian holidays.

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