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Ana Maria Padurean

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12/8/2008 9:12:10 AM
Hello Everyone, friends of ROMANIA

... now, after such a long time and as November is over, with the many celebrations I have within my family, let's go on with DECEMBER, a very special time for all the worlds people ... and for us, Romanians, with so many interesting and unique traditions! ... some of them have already passed, with me in the middle of lots of things to do! So, let's catch up a little bit! :-)

The old name of December is Undrea. This comes from St. Andrews celebration (November 30th), which announces the beginning of the month. In the old language, Andrew (Romanian: Andrei) became in time Andrea and then Undrea.

Naming a month of the year after a feast of the previous month remindsdecember

December is the month of snow, when the peasants economic activity reduces, leaving the place for the ritual and spiritual preparations.

The celebrations of this month are:
of an ancient cycle of celebrations from the end of the autumn and the beginning of the winter, when the Dacian New Year was probably celebrated.

·  December 4: St. Varvara

·  December 4-5: Bubat Days

·  December 6: St. Nicholas

·  December 12: St. Spiridon

·  December 20: the Ignat

·  December 24: Christmas Eve

·  December 25: Christmas

·  December 27: St. Stephan

·  December 31 / January 1: St. Vasiles Eve, New Year night

December 4: St. Varvara

St. Varvara is the miners
patron. In order to celebrate her, they dont enter the mine on this day, but party instead. It is said that the saint likes parties and jokes.

Some say that St. Varvara is St. Nicholas
mother or sister.

Other beliefs say that the saint is one of the three stars situated near the moon. These stars are guarding the world from Antihart, who wants to eat it.

December 4-5: "Bubat

Women are forbidden to sew, to weave or wash clothes these ways. It is believed that by doing this, their children will be protected from chicken-pox (in Romanian
buba means blain). In order to immunize them, mothers put honey on their face and then wash them with the water in which the icon was washed first. Also, children aren’t allowed to eat corn, bean or pumpkin seeds on these days.

In some areas, women bake two pies, one with honey and one with jam. The first is doled and the last is put at the eaves.

December 6: St. Nicholas

Folk tradition says that St. Nicholas is the second sanctified man. He sits on God
s left side (St. Michael is on the right) and guards the Sun. Legend goes that the Sun, bored of walking always on the same road and disgusted of the human sins, continuously tries to escape. St. Nicholas doesnt guard the Sun alone. He is helped by St. Toader. St. Toader catches the Sun in spring (when it is his celebration) and St. Nicholas catches it in the winter. The Sun always tries to escape because he knows that St. Nicholas is old and he doesnt have a horse.

Other beliefs present St. Nicholas as the patron of those who travel on water. He was a seaman, the only one who didn
t drown during a strong storm. His prayers to God brought the others back to life. St. Nicholas also stopped the torrents from the times of Noah.

In Romanian peasant
s life, St. Nicholas plays a very important role. A legend goes that St. Casian (celebrated on February 29) complained to God that he isnt so important. Meantime, St. Nicholas arrived, all wet and tired, after having helped the entire night to the rescue of some people. Then God told to St. Casian that the important saints work hard and also told to leave and return after another 4 years.

For the peasant, the winter starts on St. Nicholas
day. It is said that when the saint shakes his beard, it starts snowing on earth.

The custom of receiving gift on St. Nicholas
day (especially candies) doesnt have its roots in the folk Romanian tradition, but in the urban culture, thus anticipating the coming of Santa Claus. So, St. Nicholas brings sweets, fruits and leave them in children's booth, left in the or near, the window along with a twig to keep kids listening their parents and behaving good and don't be naughty :-)

St. Nicholas is also the one who helps the poor girls.

December 12: St. Spiridon

St. Spridon is a miracle maker. It is said that on this time of the year, the day increases as much as a rooster jumps from the fence.

He is the shoemakers
patron. In order to prove the existence of the Holy Trinity, he squeezed a brick until the fire rose to the sky, the water fell on earth and the clay remained in his fist.

A legend goes that, while walking on earth accompanied by St. Peter, St. Spiridon saw a devil riding a woman in a bush. To punish them, he beheaded them with his sword. Because St. Peter chewed him out for having being to rough, St. Spiridon clued their heads, but each at the wrong body. That is the reason for which it is said that women have sometimes devil heads.

December 20: The

The legend goes that Ignat was a man who, wanting to butcher his pig in a year, fatally hit his father with the hatchet and killed him. Wretched, he left away. One day he met a priest in his roads. This priest advised him to make himself a boat and use it for helping people cross the river, without receiving money in return. He also told him to burry a bush coal in the ground and wait until it blooms. Ignat listened to the priest. The years passed by and Ignat got married.

One night, he heard cries for help coming from the other bank. He watched, but didn
t see anything. The cries were heard again. Ignat crossed the river once again, but without results. The third time he saw two old men. He received them in his house and related them his first sin (the killing of his father) and the other two (he thought that people died on that night because he couldnt help them). The old men (God and St. Peter) saw the poverty from Ignat’s house. They saw the children who were starving and their mother telling them the lie that she had put something to bake in the oven. One of the old men told her to look in the oven and she found a big bread. Seeing this and seeing also how two candles lighted by their own in the front of them, Ignat realized who these two men were, kneeled and kissed their feet. God asked him to come with them, assuring him that He will take care of the children. The bush from the garden bloomed, as a sign that Ignats sin had been forgiven. Ignat traveled the world for many years, accompanying the two men. One day they encountered a carriage of some rich boyars. God told him that those were his sons and let them go with them.

As on all major celebrations, working isn
t allowed on Ignats day. Women who dont follow this rule are punished by Inatoarea, a character similar to Joimarita.

The pig is killed on this day. The people who don
t have a pig must at least kill and cook a hen, because it is recommended to see blood.

(Translations: Have you at least read my CV before?!

The ritual of killing the pig is an ancient remain of the belief that sacrifices must be done at the change of the year. People are afraid that otherwise the Sun wont rise again. In the old times, the pig symbolized the spirit of the corn and of the vegetation.

The Ignat
s day is especially dedicated to killing the pig. Pigs that arent killed on this day wont grow fatter anymore.

The killing of the this animal is done in a certain moment of the day, especially in the morning.

It is believed that in the night before, the pig dreams his death or dreams himself wearing red beads at the neck.

Merciful people should not assist at the killing of the pig, otherwise the animal dies slowly and its meat isn
t good anymore. When the pig is killed, some peasant say: Ignat, Ignat, fat pig.

After having killed the pig, its head is weighed. It is said that the body is
Ignatulten times heavier. People draw a cross on their childrens forehead, using pig blood, in order to protect them from the illness. (Well, my grandparents never did that to me, though I'm SANA and SANO :-)  )

It is said that the lard from a black pig is good for making spells.

The people who have helped at killing the animal receive the
pigs alms.

Wow, this seems to grow a bit longer than I planned so

·  December 24: Christmas Eve

·  December 25: Christmas

·  December 27: St. Stephan

·  December 31 / January 1: St. Vasiles Eve, New Year night

I'll leave for another thread! CHRISTMAS has so many to bring and share with you :-) It will come with lots of nice pictures and music CORALS you will enjoy and love!

Hope you loved OUR WAY OF DECEMBER so far?!
See you a bit later, in CHRISTMAS MOOD ;-)

Anamaria :-)

Peter Fogel

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12/8/2008 9:34:30 AM

Hi AnaMaria,

This was a very interesting article. I just wonder when you have any time for anything else besides celebrations. You know mundane things like work.

This month must be a joy for families. The best part of holidays are that the family celebrates together and that of course is added enjoyment.

I will post again but as you know my eye is bothering me and typing becomes a chore.

Thanks for sharing with us.



Peter Fogel
Babylon 7
Alain Deguire

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12/8/2008 10:30:05 AM
Hello AnaMaria!
Thank you for this great article...  very interesting and lot of research to share about all this info. Thank you!
Have a wonderful week,
Lia Kovacs

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12/8/2008 10:46:06 AM
        Dear Ana Maria, :) you remind me off my grandma (my fathers mother). When I was a little girl she used to tell me stories about these saints, I almost forgot about them, but luckily you are here to remind me off them. THANK YOU! :)
Ana Maria Padurean

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12/8/2008 12:07:02 PM
Hello Peter :-)

For some reason this editor do not want to accept my reply for you?! This is my 3rd attempt to post it! The good part in it, is that my reply is longer every time I'm back to you :-)

Thank you so much for your effort despite your eye?!...

So, now here I am with something for you to read as soon as you cannot?! ... how wonderful friend I am?! ... but till you can read here is the video and just listen:

((youtube id="Djt8F7VIwvg"))((/youtube))

What is this song about?! ... about DECEMBER of course :-)

This is a poem written by a Romanian poet: George Bacovia; his poems are a bit too dull for my taste but this one is so beautiful mainly sung by Nicu Alifantis

Here is a translated version of the poem:


See how December snows ...
Look there by the window, my dear -
Tell them to bring in more embers,
Then we can hear the fire roar.

Push the armchair up the stove
And then we'll hear, by the chimney,
The storm, or my days - it's the same -
I must learn their symphony.

Tell them also to bring in the tea,
And come closer yourself too, please, -
Read me something about the poles,
Let it snow ... let the snow bury us.

How warm it is here in your home,
Which to me is totally sacred, -
See how December snows ...
Don't laugh ... go on reading alaud.

It's day and what darkness there is ...
We need a lamp fetched, would you ask -
Look, the snow is as high as the fence,
And the door-handle's caught by the frost.

I'm not going home now today ...
In front and behind there's a flood,
See how December snows ...
Don't laugh ... go on reading aloud.

With friendship,


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