Traditions21 December 2023

Everything you didn’t know about the Romanian fir

Very few know today the meaning of the Christmas tree in the Romanian tradition. Besides the beautiful image of the Christmas tree, the Romanians have very complex representations of the fir ...

The Christmas tree

The Christmas tree

The decoration of the Christmas tree, the symbols and the excitement that comes with the winter holidays, there are indispensable things for all Romanians. Beyond the Christmas image seen through the decorated Christmas tree, in the Romanian tradition this tree has deeper meanings.

Moreover, in the Romanian space, the connection between fir and the Christmas holiday is relatively recent, from the mid-nineteenth century. According to Romanian archaic world, the fir is a tree that link to the most important cycles of the human life, such as marriage and death. The fir, the evergreen tree, is a form of the tree of life.

The fir symbolizes eternal life, youth and courage. In the Romanian traditions, the fir is present in the wedding ritual, where it is called the groom’s tree. The fir is prepared  the day before the wedding, by the boys and girls. After the religious ceremony takes place, the fir is taken to the groom’s house, symbolizing abundant life to the newlyweds.

The funeral role is the saddest role that the fir has in the Romanian tradition. It is used in burial rituals dedicated to a young and unmarried. He fulfills the role of husband or wife for the deceased and it is brought from the mountain according to a well-established ritual. For the European peoples, from the Middle Ages, the fir decorated as a symbol of Christmas represents the year’s renovation. It is, as you can see, the image of life but also the image of death.

How have passed the Romanians from the funeral fir to the Christmas tree?

For Romanian, the Christmas tree comes from the urban areas, the families who had first the Christmas tree for the winter holidays were the royal family and the boyars. In 1871, with the anniversary of Princess Marioara, it was adorned the first Christmas tree in the Romanian royal family. From that moment the Romanians began to decorate the fir at Christmas. Nowadays in Romania Christmas could not exist without the Christmas tree, which became a form of joy and family celebrations.  

Sources and photo:

Ivan Evseev, Dicționar de simboluri și arhetipuri culturale ; %C4%83ciun#/media/File:Juletr%C3%A6et.jpg





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