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Ana Maria Padurean

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4/12/2008 7:44:32 AM

April was the second month of the Roman calendar, april
which began on March 1st.
In the Julian and Gregorian calendars, it was the fourth month.

The old name of April, “prier”, is related to the weather, which is favorable for continuing the agricultural works begun in March.

When the weather was changing and it was too cold for seeding, April was named “bag on a stick” (Romanian: “traista-n bat”), which was associated to poverty.

According to the tradition, if the weather is beautiful in April, May will be cold and frosty. Instead, if April is cold, the weather will be beautiful in May.

The celebrations of this month are:

  • April 1st: The fools’ day (The tricks day)
  • April 11: Teeth day (St. Antipa)
  • April 22: St. George’s Eve (St. George of the cows)
  • April 23: St. George (Sangiorz)
  • April 25: St. Mark of the ox
  • Also this April, on 26-28th we will be celebrating EASTER - read  more about it in my dedicated threads for Easter In Romania which you may find in the Table of Content here

April 1st: The fools’ day (The tricks day)

Almost all Romanian people today, especially the ones from towns, know that April 1st is the “Tricks Day”, when lies are told and tricks are made. Nevertheless, this celebration doesn’t belong to the Romanian folk life. It was only introduced later in time.

April 11: Teeth day (St. Antipa)

This day is dedicated to St. Antipa. People believe that this saint can cure the toothache.

April 22: St. George’s Eve (St. George of the cows)

The night before the St. George celebration (an ancient beginning of the Pastoral Year) is a very important one. People believe that witches try to still the crops and the milk from the cows. For this reason, all the rituals of this night are meant to protect the fields and the cattle.

This is the night when witches, naked and disheveled, gather in groups of twelve at the village boundary. An older witch advises them. It is said that they fight at the boundary between two regions. The winners will be awarded the rain and their region will be fertile. On the other hand, the losers’ region will be draughty.

In order to steal the corn of the fields and the milk from the cows, witches tie to one of their legs an empty little bag or a milk strainer, which they drag over the fields and pastures. With the same purpose, they cut green wheat with the sickle, bury charmed salt blocks in the path of the cows and do various spells.

It is believed that who doesn’t sleep on this night can hear the witches’ songs.

Men should always wear something on their head when they go outside in the evening of this day. If they don’t wear a hat, the witches put a bridle on their head and use them as a horse. Thus the men will run as the witches command.

People execute various rituals in order to keep the witches away.

It is believed that witches are afraid of the great noise. For this reason, the young men play alpenhorns and fautes made of nut tree wood, people scream, ring church bells or bang coppery plates, trying to make as much noise as possible.

For keeping the witches away, people splash one another with charmed water from the river and they also splutter the cattle and the stable.

In this night some people take their cows grazing and carefully watch over them.

Sometimes a harrow with the teeth pointing upwards is put at the stable entrance, in order to scare the witches.

In the same purpose, enchanted herbs are put in the milk bucket filled with water and left there over the night. The second day people cut them in little pieces, mix them with salt and bran and feed the cows with this mixture. The doors and windows are smeared with garlic and ornate with green branches of willow, beech, bramble, peach or lovage. These are also placed at the gate, at the stables, at the well, at the milking buckets, at the horns of the cows and at the plough. Green branches decoration also means the revival of the nature.

According to the folk tradition, the one who walks in the morning, before the sun rises, on the rural fields, will be blessed with health.

Sky opens this night, in order to give the trees the power to bloom. As St. George is the patron of the summer, people plant a green tree in the front of their houses. If the tree grows, they say it was a gift from St. George.

People hit one another with nettles, believing that this way they will be healthy and fast all year.

One shouldn’t sleep in this night, as he will be sleepy all year.

The white snake is a common presence in the beliefs of this day. It is said that who searches for treasures should look at a river until he sees a white snake. He should cut its head with a silver coin, then he should bury the head in the ground and he should plant garlic above. If the man eats the garlic before St. George celebration, he will be able to understand the language of the animals and he will even be able to hear the grass growing.

According to other similar beliefs, the silver coin used for cutting the head of the white snake will always return to its master, no matter how many times it will be spent. If one puts garlic in the mouth of the dead snake, he will be able to see the witches stealing the milk from the cows.

In order to be lucky, on St. George’s Eve people make the “live fire”. This is lightened by unmarried men, by rubbing dry woods. The live fire is lightened in order to purify the space from the evil spirits, to keep away the witches and the disasters of the nature. Opposite to the normal fire, which is lightened with the steel or matches, the live fire is only lightened by rotating a dry soft wood on the hard one. People jump over this fire, saying magic words. The live fire is kept until the sheep are taken down from the mountain. By mixing the ashes of the live fire with other herbs, medicines for skin diseases are obtained.

It is believed that fires appear in this night, indicating treasures hidden in the ground.

The power to overcome Evel and to Do only good!

April 23: St. George (Sangiorz)

St. George Day is one of the greatest Romanian celebrations. It keeps ancient elements, previous to the Christianity. Only the memory of a holy warrior, who killed the dragon which threatened the world, has been kept from the Christianity.

An ancient beginning of the Pastoral Year, this day is considered to be the beginning of the spring. People choose the shepherds to whom they will entrust the sheep until St. Dumitru’s Day (October 26).

In the morning, before the sun rises, people bathe in a river, thinking this will make them healthy. Girls seed basil and keep the seeds in their mouth, in order that the plant should rise and have a beautiful smell.

Also in the morning, before they eat, people weight, in order they should be protected of spells and they should have a long and happy life.

The garbage of this day is placed at the base of the trees, thinking that this way they will fruit.

If there’s much dew or if the day is foggy, the year will be wealthy.

An ancient custom is named the “bloj” (also named “Sangiorz”, “Gheorghe”, “Gotoi”, “Bloaja”, “Papaluga”, “Mujug”, “Moroi”, “Ploughman”). The custom symbolizes the birth and the death of the vegetal god. Young men gather in the wood, a day before St. George. There, sitting around the fire, choose the one who will play the role of the god. The birth is symbolized by the dressing of this young man with clothes made of vegetal elements: green branches of beech, lime etc. On the head he will wear a helmet made of wild cherry bark. He’ll also wear tree bark shoes and he’ll have in the hand a green branches ornate stick. The others have alpenhorns or flutes made of the bark of some trees. In St. George’s morning, the masked young men go in the village, shouting and singing. The “Sangiorz” (the vegetal god) enters the households, dances and tries to embrace the women and girls. The other young men protect him of being spluttered with water. If a peasant manages to splutter the “Sangiorz”, he’ll have a bad year. All kind of gifts (eggs, meat, wine etc.) are given to the young men. The one who collects the gifts is named the “clucking hen” or the “lass”. After they have finished singing and dancing in the village households, the “Bloj” is undressed of his vegetal clothes and thrown in the water, symbolically suggesting growing old and death. The clothes are sometimes ritually buried. These have magical properties:  protect the cattle from the witches, give a bigger crop, and bring luck and health. In some regions, the crowns of the bride and groom are made of these green branches.

April 25: St. Mark of the ox

St. Mark the Evangelist is presented in the religious icons sitting next to an ox. For this reason, people name this celebration “St. Mark of the ox”. Peasants shouldn’t work on this day, as the cattle will be in great danger.

I hope you'll all enjoy these posts which unfortunately I'm not able to post regularly as it was the plan from the first time :-)

Wish you all a wonderful and joyful April :-)
With friendship,

Roger Macdivitt .

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4/12/2008 3:32:39 PM


Thank you so much for an informative, interesting and educational forum posting.

It is great to see the similarities in different European traditions. I can see similar but distinctly different ideas within beliefs and actions perfomed in your country and here in England.

You probably know that St. George is the patron saint of England and is revered for killing the dragon thus saving everyone. Here is a simple site made by a small English school

Hope you enjoyed.

It is a small but interesting world. We are all so different ,yet, we share so much.

Thaks again and I look forward to more when you can find the time.



4/12/2008 5:21:34 PM
Hello Anamaria,

Thank you for taking the time to share this information with us.  Myself being from a European Country I can see so much similarity with all countries.  I appreciate you taking the time to do this.  I love to learn about different countries and their costums.

God Bless

God Bless Everyone
Nick Sym

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4/12/2008 6:29:27 PM
Hello Dear Anamaria

Breast Cancer Awareness On My Site! Free exposure that works
Mary Hannan

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4/12/2008 7:32:10 PM

Hello Anamaria,
Very interesting post.


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