Author: Fetita Iunia Maria
How Romanians celebrate Easter
For Romanians, Easter is one of the most valued and appreciated holidays of Christendom, because it has the power of bringing together the whole family while remembering and celebrating the most important moments in Jesus Christ’s life. It also symbolizes the rebirth of nature and the spiritual resurrection of the dead ones.
The best-known religious habit is painting the eggs in red and then knocking them. The one that knocks first says “Hristos a inviat!”, while the other person says “Adevarat a inviat!”. Some time ago, painting eggs other colors than red was unacceptable, but nowadays you can find different colors and varied patterns.
Red eggs represent the blood that our Lord spilled for people, meanwhile, the ones painted with different models are symbolizing joy, spring, the renaissance. It is believed that consuming red eggs on the Easter holidays will have desirable effects on health.
During Lord's Resurrection night, people are encouraged to go to church and light a candle with the holy light from the priest. Some families choose to keep the candle and light it during the year when they have a problem they need divine help for.
At the end of the Resurrection service, the priest distributes all the Holy Passovers “Sfintele Pasti” and does the Holy anointing for the little kids.
On Easter Holiday, Romanian families eat Lamb meat because it represents the sacrifice that Jesus did a long time ago for humanity. “Pasca” is the blessed bread that reminds us of the “mana cereasca din pustiu”, the “cozonac”, which is a sweetened bread, symbolizes the joy of the feast, the egg/ “oul” represents life, and the lamb or “miel” has its origins in the Old Testament and symbolizes Christ.
The Easter Rabbit is the one that brings a basket full of eggs and sweets for the ones who did good deeds during the year, skipping the bad kids. It is portrayed in colorful clothes because it symbolizes the renaissance of nature during springtime.
As mentioned earlier, some habits were modified in time. There are still places in Romania where some traditions were kept for centuries. For example, in Maramures, buying new clothes is forbidden until Easter day. They also avoid wearing colorful clothes that might suggest joy during Holy Week, called “Saptamana Patimilor”. In Muntenia, Sunday morning, people usually wash their eyes with cold water which they left the night before with a silver coin and a red egg, hoping to have luck.
Romanians go to their loved ones' graves, knocking eggs and sharing food in their honor.
In Bucovina there is a celebration called “The householders' party” or “Petrecerea gospodarilor”, where people wear traditional clothes and party until the next morning.
A more modern way to celebrate Easter that many people like is traveling alongside family or friends. Some people choose to go to the shores, others prefer going to the mountainside for some hiking trails. People who like to stay at home often choose to gather with their friends and barbeque with them in the courtyard.
To draw a simple conclusion, Easter is a very important holiday with both symbolic and religious meanings. On one hand, it means the rebirth of nature – the season of spring and on the other hand, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These both meanings bind together, as Romanians traditionally believe Easter is the time where the dead rise alive. Not just the people themselves but nature as well, as the spring season is the one where nature comes back to life.