In the land of RoJAM there are a myriad of things happening on a regular basis. Consider this series as our way of keeping you up to date with the local scene so you won’t feel this as an alien world.
It happened a week ago today. As the bell struck midnight the rush started. People stormed the church in a frenzy akin to those seen on Black Friday sales. Rest assured though, it was no sale on candles, people were just in a great rush to be among the first to get Holy Light. As soon as it’s out among the people, the light waltzes through the crowd, passing from one person’s candle to the other. With a mixture of joy and relief, the crowd starts to disperse, dozens of lights moving to their new homes. It’s the same every year.
Once arrived, anyone sleeping is in for a 1 AM awakening. You marvel at the light, salute with “Hristos a-nviat” (Christ has risen from the dead) and sit down… for a nice hearty meal of boiled eggs and lamb roast. Only then, you can go back to bed. Dietitians and nutritionists might grumble, but Romanians couldn’t care less about healthy eating, specially during holidays.
And so the fun begins. There are so many wonderful traditions to talk about: dyeing the eggs red, breaking the eggs (imagine something like toasting), giving the eggs away. OK, there are also things that don’t include eggs. One such tradition is the Splashing of the women and it happens in Transylvania, where men apparently like their women dripping wet on the second day of Easter. Here, in villages especially, groups of young men will go from house to house and throw a nice bucket of water on the ladies residing there. And they do have a very good reasons for that! It’s said that this will keep them beautiful all year. So much for expensive face-cream.
Probably the most interesting tradition is Horses’ Easter. It’s very funny because it’s so confusing, since in Romanian we use the term “at horses’ Easter” referring to something that will never happen. And yet, to the surprise of most of Romania’s population, the celebration is a real thing. One tradition says that it’s only kept in the years when both Catholic and Orthodox Easter happen on the same day, and thus all horses can rest. Alas, since it’s such a confusing celebration, most information on it is also equally confusing. Suffice to say that it ironically exists.
All in all, we believe Romanian Easter is not the weirdest thing out there as far as celebrations go, but if you’re ever around to witness it, best have an extra stomach on hand.
Hristos a-nviat! (it’s ok, to say this for 40 days)