Most interesting Easter customs of Romanians, explained

The Easter holidays are some of the most important Romanian holidays, and the customs specific to each region of the country are observed every year by many people. Red painted eggs, Easter bread and lamb steak, along with buying new clothes, general house cleaning, are just some of the habits that Romanians associate with the Easter holidays.
Easter customs of Romanians

In this article we detail you more about the customs, traditions, but also the superstitions that Romanians observe for this period, which will help you get acquainted and integrate easily in the Romanian local community.

Dyeing the eggs

One of the most well-known and common Easter customs of Romanians is the dyeing or reddening of the eggs. Red eggs are always present on Romanian tables for Easter, being a symbol of rebirth and spring.

Traditionally, eggs are dyed and decorated on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter day). They are painted in red, the red color being symbol of Jesus blood. But Romanians are rich in imagination, and colors such as yellow, green, orange or turquoise have also appeared on the tables of Romanians. The color red represents fire, with its purifying power, but also the blood of Jesus shed for the salvation of the world.

On Easter day, Romanians clash their eggs, along with the wish “Christ has risen!” (in Romanian: “Christos a înviat!”). This wish is answered with “Truly He is risen!” (in Romanian: “Adevărat a înviat!”). In some regions tradition says that each family member has to eat a piece of the first broken egg, to always stay together.

Lamb based dishes, Easter bread and sponge cake (“cozonac”)

For Easter meal, serving dishes cooked with lamb is another Romanian custom. Lamb is prepared in various ways, most often in the form of steak or steak. The Lamb is the symbol of the Savior (Jesus Christ), sacrificed to save the mankind. In the Christian tradition, the Passover lamb has been sacrificed since the 7th century. Lamb fillet is made from liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, greens, eggs, bread soaked in water and milk.

Preparing sweet dishes, such as Easter bread (in Romanian: “pasca”) and sponge/sweet cake (“cozonac”), are other Easter customs of Romanians, which they respect with holiness. Easter bread and the “cozonac” are always present on every Romanian table for Easter.

Easter bread is a sweet dish, made of dough, cheese and raisins, prepared on Holy Thursday or Saturday. It is prepared in a round shape, made of woven dough most often. Cozonac is a traditional, sweet dish that contains flour, eggs, butter or oil, essences, filled with a composition of cocoa and ground walnut kernels.

Bringing home the Holy Light

On the night of the Resurrection, many people go to church. Here they light up their candles, and receive the Holy Light. After the church service ends, they go back home with their lighted candles, carrying the Holy Light into their homes. Tradition says that it is good to keep the candle lit until you get home, to let the blessed light enter the house. Many people also go to cemetery on the night of the Resurrection, to light the souls of their loved ones who died.

Wearing newest clothes

On the night of the Resurrection, there is a tradition of wearing new clothes. The tradition of wearing new clothes means the purification of the body and the soul. In the old times, it was said that the new clothes show the villagers the fruits of their labor during the winter.

Customs and traditions from different Romanian regions

If you live in one of the following regions of the country, it may be useful for you to know what are the traditions and the most common Easter customs of Romanians. This way you will be able to take part in these celebrations and you will taste the charm of the Romanian holidays.

In Transylvania, one of the most famous customs is that of sprinkling girls with perfume. Dressed in folk costumes specific to each region, the boys visit families in which girls are unmarried and sprinkle them with perfume, so that they do not fade (“fading” in this context means not to grow old, the girls are sprayed with perfume to have a better year to marry).

In the region of Sibiu, in some areas, a tree with painted eggs is decorated, while in the Cluj area, a fir branch is decorated, in memory of the last deceased member of the family. The twig is adorned with candy and pretzels and taken to the church to be consecrated.

In the Brașov area, a party is organized for the whole community. The young people divide into groups of carolers, collect eggs from the young girls, then head to the Stones of Solomon, where there will be several rehearsals, games and a picnic. One of the most popular tests is throwing a mace, in which young men compete in their physical abilities.

In Câmpulung Moldovenesc, one of the most important traditions is the one related to the blessing of the Resurrection food preparations. On the day of the Resurrection, in the early hours, the inhabitants, together with the baskets with goodies and candles in their hands, go to church, where they sit in a circle. The priest passes by each one and blesses the food.

In Crișana region, on Holy Thursday, the “toaca” is beaten to drive away the evil spirits from the village (“toaca” is a wooden plate on which one beats rhythmically with one or two hammers, to announce the beginning of the church service). Also on Holy Thursday, eggs are chosen for painting and decorating. In some areas of Crișana region, vessels and pots filled with flour, salt and fodder are brought to the church to be consecrated.

In Maramureș region, children under the age of nine visit the neighbors to announce the Resurrection of the Lord. The little ones are rewarded with red eggs.

In Banat region, incensing of food is practiced. After the morning church service and the incensing ceremony, each person receives a teaspoon of Easter, wine and holy bread.

In the region of Bucovina, young people carry flowers where their dear girls live. If they give their consent to their feelings, give them a red egg as a gift. On the night of the Resurrection, the lights are turned on throughout the house, as a symbol of the Light brought by Christ into the world.

In Moldova region, after the resurrection service, the priest goes to each grave and reads a prayer together with the family of the deceased. Traditional dishes are sanctified and offered for free to poor people, for the souls of those asleep. Egg dyeing takes place on Maundy Thursday. On the same day, sweet cake (cozonac) and Easter bread are baked.

On Good Friday, people use to fast (do not eat food) and do not prepare food, this being considered a sin. On the day of the Resurrection, a few coins, a red egg and a white one are placed in a bowl of water. It is said that children who wash with this water will have red cheeks, like a red egg.

In Dobrogea, every day of the Holy Week has a special significance. Cleaning is done on Monday, no work is done on Tuesday, the hemp weaving ends on Wednesday. On Holy Thursday, graves are cleaned and candles are lit. On Good Friday no one works or consumes vinegar or oil, the only thing housewives do is prepare for Easter.

On Saturday, the remaining chores are finalized. On the night of the Resurrection, at 12 o’clock, the light in the church goes out, and the villagers take the light from the priest. On the same night bread soaked in wine is offered.

Also in Dobrogea, “Paparuda” tradition takes place. The tradition takes place on the third day of Easter and consists of sprinkling water on a group of young women or old women, adorned with flowers and green branches.

According to tradition, in Oltenia region, women are not allowed to sleep on Maundy Thursday, otherwise they will sleep all year round. In this region, the men take care of boiling and dyeing the red eggs. On Easter morning, people leave the church with a basket of goodies.

Easter superstitions

Along with the Easter traditions and customs of the Romanians, there are also some superstitions that people observe, to ensure that they will have a good year. Some of them may sound very funny, but these are old superstitions, originating in old times, when people believed in all sorts of phenomena. The following are the most popular superstitions Romanians believe in around Easter:

  • it isn’t recommended to sleep on Easter because you will be sleepy for the rest of the year;
  • on Easter morning it is good to wash your face with water in which you put a red, white egg and a silver coin. You will be healthier and prosperous;
  • You must not eat a salted egg on Easter. Otherwise you are supposed to sweat all year round;
  • at Easter it is good to eat an egg first, then poultry and fish. You will be healthy, agile and light;
  • children born on Easter Day are blessed with a happy life;
  • the candle with which the Light was taken on the night of the Resurrection must be kept and lit whenever the weather is bad;
  • eggs must not be painted on Easter day, to avoid disease.
Picture of Georgiana Dima

Georgiana Dima


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