20 years ago, after the fall of communism, Romanians earned their right to celebrate Christmas again.
Before 1989, Christmas was a forbidden word; but, in spite of these restrictions, most of us preserved traditions in our own homes.
In the Romanian villages tradition says that you must clean your house thoroughly, days before Christmas.
There is also a very important custom (called “Ignat”, in the honour of Saint Ignatius), to sacrifice a pig on the 20th of December, when the snow snow have already fallen and is cold enough.
Then, during 2 or 3 days before Christmas women prepare various delicious pork sausages, bacon and other mouth-watering meals like “sarmale“, made of pickled cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of pork and beef, rice, pepper and other spices. And also roasted pork and as a desert, “cozonac“, a cake filled with nuts and raisins.
Another beautiful custom is “Colind” (Romanian word for carol) – a group of people, usually dressed in folk costumes, who go from house to house singing Christmas carols, till morning. They are received in every house with great joy, because, according to tradition, they bring fortune and happiness . They receive knot-shaped bread and cakes, apples, nuts and money.
On Christmas Eve, the fir tree is brought into the house and decorated by the family members. Children believe that “Mos Craciun” (Romanian for Santa Claus) is the one who brings them presents, so they sometimes write letters to him to ask for their favourite ones: sweets, chocolates, toys, games, books and many more. But not only children receive presents from Santa; the adults in the family find theirs under the fir tree too, on the Christmas Eve.
First Day of Christmas is usually spent with all the family around the table, after attending the Christmas church service; the other two days are reserved for friends or neighbours.
For most of us, urban people, a lot of Christmas magic has lost.
We have Christmas lights in the streets, Christmas fairs with tons of Christmas presents to buy, a lot of Christmas events and concerts to attend and an abundance of meals on our tables.
But we can’t find the Christmas peace and harmony any more.
Come again tomorrow to find out more about Christmas in Catalunya.
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