Transylvania is the region situated in the center of Romania, surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, and it is formed from the territories of 10 counties.
Over time, this land was a component part of the Roman Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary and of the Austrian Empire. After the Big Unification of 1918, Transylvania became a part of independent Romania. Today, the central part of the country is populated by Romanians, Hungarians and Germans, each community maintaining its culture and specific customs. The identity and spirituality of Transylvania are still influenced by the traditions of the minorities that live in this region, so you will discover various customs, with unique meanings, full of charm and mistery. The rural spectacle, the costumes and songs take you away in a delightful world, which reminds of the simplicity and beauty of the Romanian village.
Traditions during the year in Transylvania
The day of the bear is celebrated in the villages of Transylvania 40 days after Christmas, on 2nd of February. On this day, people try to predict the weather. It is said that if the bear comes out of his den and gets scared from his shadow, he will remain in his den for another 6 weeks, which means that the winter will be longer. If it stays outside, it means that the spring is coming.
The decorated ox is a tradition that takes place on the holiday of Whitsunday to protect the crops from storms and hail. The main attraction is a big powerful ox, decorated with bells, flowers and beautiful fabrics, which is walked on the street of the village, representing, according to ethnologists, the animal appearance of an old divinity with the power of fertility, that would guarantee the production of a rich harvest. The ox “god” would stroll through the village, accompanied by a lot of people with masks, with appearances and behaviour that would remind of the worshipers of the Greek god Dionysos, who is associated with fruitfulness and vital power.
The mace from the harvest is a tradition specific to the village of Cârţa (Sibiu county). On a day of July, people dress in celebration clothes and go on the field, where they teach the young people how to cut the ears of wheat and how to tie down the sheaf of wheat. These are put one over each other in the form of a mace and are carried around in the village, where the women sprinkle them with fresh water as a sign of prosperity and freshness.
Written by: Catalin POPSOR