Easter Traditions in Transylvania
The Easter Holiday is celebrated through specific traditions of the comunities that live in Transylvania. The religious people respect strictly the Big Fast and try to complete the household tasks: the land is plowed and sowed, the houses are cleaned and painted, and new clothes are being prepared. Before the Fast, the germans have a last party, called „Fărşang”, with the purpose of scaring away the evil spirits and bring in luck. On the Big Thursday or Big Friday of the Easter, the women paint the eggs and prepare the specific bread for this holiday.
On Saturday, in some areas in Transylvania, the boys adorn the fir trees which they leave in the yards of the girls who are prepared for marriage. The girls look at them stealthily and reward them on the second day when the boys come to visit them. On the night of the Ressurection, the religious people participate to the service and take the Holy Light. In the morning, all of the family members wash themselves with fresh water, in which they put a red egg, a silver coin and some basil. On the first day of Easter, the family reunite around the table, knocking the eggs and enjoying the lamb. There is the superstition that you will have luck if the first person who enters the house is a man. Also, it is said that the one who sleeps on this day, his hay will deteriorate.
The tradition of „sprinkeling” is common especially in the comunities of germans and hungarians, having its roots in the period of the Middle Ages. It reminds of the fact that the jewish splashed the ones who brought the news of the Ressurection of Christ. On the second day of Easter, the boys go to the girls houses and say the following:”I have been in a green forest, I saw a blue violet which was almost withered. Am I allowed to sprinkle it ?” or „I heard you have a beautiful flower, we have come to wet it, for it not to whiter.” The young men sprinkle perfume on the girls, as a symbol of wellness, beauty, and fertility. In the Mures county, on the last day of Easter is destined for the sprinkeling of the boys; they get away from it only if outside is very cold. The Easter holidays bring people closer to divinity, offering them the silence and peace of the soul.
Wedding traditions in Transylvania
In Transylvania, the wedding is a ritual full of traditions which have the purpose of marking the formation of a new family and integrating it in the community. Before everything, the man has to court the girl, asking her parents the accord for the marriage. Usually, the man is accompanied by family and friends; in the past, if he was not sure that the girl likes him, he would send to her house suitors, well known for their power of conviction. The courting also implies the organization of a meal, in which the two fiances have to eat from the same plate. On this day they set the date of the engagement and of the wedding, and the parents agree over the dowry and discuss about the wedding party. In Romanian villages, the dowry is a very important element in the making of the marriage because it reflects the social status of the two families, implicitly of the young people that will unite their destinies. For the poor girls it was more difficult to find a partner, many times they remained alone. The rich ones had animals, land, money and the famous chest with dowry which contained clothes, towels, carpets and all kinds of textiles needed for the household. Before the wedding, the brothers of the bride and some other men would move the chest in the house of the grooms.
The community in the village gets the news of the wedding one month before the event or on the first Sunday after the engagement. The grooms, the governor of the village and the friends of the grooms go through the village and call people for the wedding. The preparations for the party begin with the sawing and decorating the flag, a stick decorated with colorful ribbons. On the day of the wedding, the man carrying the flag leads the crew of the groom. A custom in Transylvania is the wedding fir tree, which the grooms’ close ones prepare the night before the weeding. The decorated tree is carried by a girl a boy who sprinkle the grooms with water and wheat, as a symbol of prosperity.
Written by: Catalin POPSOR