This weekend at the Tots 100 Christmas party I start thinking that I should write this post. What is your Christmas tradition? What is the Christmas tradition that you HAVE to repeat every year because this is what you learned from your parents or just makes it CHRISTMAS for you? It might be more than one tradition ad you will see below that there are quite a few traditions I keep in my heart.
Romanian Christmas is very different from the English Christmas. The biggest difference must be the fact that Romanians are orthodox and for us the whole meaning of Christmas is very religious. We care about the core of the holiday which is the birth of Jesus Christ. So very early morning we go to the church to receive the Christmas blessing. In the last couple of years however I missed this. I missed because I am in England and the nearest orthodox is a bit too far away and I just can’t get my husband to drive me there. He is not religious at all so of course very difficult to convince. At the same time my daughter was a bit too young to understand but I promised that I am going to take her to Guildford orthodox Church this year.
Carols are an important part of the Romanian folklore and of course Christmas is the time to show the love for carols. Although they seem simple, they have very deep meanings that make people surmount difficulties and give them hope to go on.
Traditionally, children go caroling very early in the morning on Christmas’ Eve while adults stay home to greet them. Me and my sister use to go from home to home and get treats like fruit, candy, walnuts, crackers and, sometimes, even money for our performance.
Traditionally even grown ups go caroling. The waits gather in groups and they choose a leader and when they reach the front yard of the house, they start singing and dancing to the host. After they finish all their repertory, the hosts invites them in the house for food, drinks and presents. After a while, they hardly can hold their bags that are too heavy of so much food.
There are a few Christmas carols that you can find in almost every traditional part of Romania: the Star carol (“Steaua”), the Bear dance (“Ursul”) and the Goat dance (“Capra”). I remember with pleasure and is like my heart is smiling when I remember the time my sister and I use to go carolling. Unfortunately my little one will only have the opportunity to do this of and when we will move back to Romania. Of course there is a Romanian community in England but we never interact with them. You see my hubby is british so as long as we live in England we will to to live the british way! But…as the carols always use to bring the feel of Christmas in my parents house I WILL teach my daughter the Romanian Christmas Carols!
The Star carol is about the waits that walk in the streets holding a star made of paper with biblical scenes in different colors, sometimes, even with shiny tinsel. While holding the star in their hands, children sing:
“The star has appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star in bright,
May all your wishes turn out right…”
“Steaua sus rasare,
Ca o taina mare,
Si lumii vesteste…”
The Bear carol is usually met in Moldova and it involves wearing the costume of a bear embellished with red tassels on its head, ears and shoulders. That person that wears such a costume is usually accompanied by fiddlers and surrounded by many characters including a child that is supposed to be the bear’s cub. They usually sing:
“Dance well, you old bear,
And I will give you bread or olives.”
Originally, the Goat dance was a serious and grave ceremony. In old times, that animal was considered to have had amazing powers and to have foretold if the weather was good or bad. In time, this tradition has turned into a ritual meant to bring prosperity in the year to come. Now, the Goat tradition consists of a very noisy young person wearing the very colorful costume of a goat. The entire group that follows this person, dances from home to home being accompanied by flute music. The goat makes many funny movements, jerks, jumps and clatters the wooden jaws.
Carols create an atmosphere full of optimism when men make wishes and foster secret desires. This is something you don’t want to miss.
Decorating the tree in my parents house was a family activity. The morning of the Christmas Eve my dad use to go to the market and buy the tree. My sister and I use to wake up to the noise of my dad carving the base of the tree. He was the only one qualified enough for the job! My dad only ever bought the hugest trees from the market! That is when my sister and I and my mum use to take over and start decorating the tree. And you heard right – we use to decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. In England people start decorating the tree on 1st of December.
I think that without this tradition – I will never feel like its truly Christmas!
While decorating the tree my mum use to already have something in the oven baking and the smell of the baking use to cheer us up!
Now I really feel like I want to be home again and spend Christmas with my mum and dad and my sister and of course with my newest family my daughter and my hubby. Unfortunately our Christmas will be spent on the road as we will go up north to visit my husbands family. His dad is been sick so we NEED to go and spend the Christmas with him.
So what is your Christmas tradition? What makes you feel like it is Christmas? If you wish to write a post about it please link it below and I will go over and read it