Romanian Beliefs and Superstitions about Easter
In Romania, Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year. It has an immense spiritual load, because it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God, in the third day after his crucifixion on Good Friday.
In the Orthodox tradition, the beginning of the great holiday is marked by the 40 days of fasting, in which people commemorate the events leading up to the Resurrection. The last week of Lent, The Holy Week, begins on Palm Sunday, when we celebrate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and ends on Saturday.
Be it food, belief or superstition, like any great Christian event celebrated in Romania, Easter is also surround by habits inherited from ancient times, which were perpetuated through generations, in order to get wealth and health in the house.
Maundy Thursday of Holy Week has an important significance. It is dedicated to preparing the house for the celebration to come into a clean environment. During this day, the eggs are painted in red, symbolizing the blood of the Savior. Nowadays, eggs do not only get the red garment, but also yellow, blue or green, so the Easter meal to be more colorful and more joyful.
Good Friday is mostly for spiritual cleaning. It is said that the person who fasts in this holy day will have a plentiful house and will be helped by God in any matter. Do not eat anything with vinegar and nettles, because Jesus was beaten with nettles and he was given vinegar to drink. Also, it is not advisable to do housework. You can leave it on the next day, the Easter Saturday.
Like the other days that precede Easter, the Easter Sunday is also marked by various folk beliefs. One ritual usually consists of washing with undefiled water containing a red egg, to bring health and strength, a silver penny – a symbol of wealth – and the grass green, a sign of prosperity in the house. They also say that it’s good that the first egg to be tapped by the head of the family and be eaten along with the whole family, so they can always remain united.
Among other superstitions:
■ During Easter table is better to eat an egg first, because it is believed to bring health throughout the year, then fish and poultry to be nimble and easy;
■ It is not good to sleep during the Easter Sunday because the rest of the year you’ll be sleepy or you’ll have bad luck;
■ The Easter Candle must be kept in the house and lit whenever something unpleasant occurs;
■ If you keep a red egg 40 days after Easter and it is still not rotten or the first person who enters your home is a man you will have a lot of luck throughout the year;
■ Birth and death: Babies born Easter Sunday will be lucky all their life, and the people who die on this day are exempt from Divine Judgment, their souls going straight to Heaven.
Like any other holiday, Easter is about reuniting with the loved ones. Leaving habits aside, it is important that all family members gather around the table on Sunday, the Day of Resurrection, smashing eggs while uttering “Christ is Risen!” and “Indeed, He is Risen!”, to leave their worries aside and celebrate the Resurrection.
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