Christmas holidays have always been a reason for joy, for children or adults, even if during Communist times the religious meaning of it was not significant.
Communists believed there is no God, therefore the Son of God did not exist and was not born. But they could not erase completely Christmas Holidays and the joy they brought, so they tried to erase the religious meaning of it.
Therefore, they renamed “Old Father Christmas” and he became “Old Man Frost”, St. Nicholas became “Old Man Nicholas” (most of us still refer to him as this).
For us, Christmas Holidays start at the evening of December 5th, when the tradition says that good children will receive small gifts from St. Nicholas in their boots (some good adults get gifts too), but only if they have been good, otherwise they will get a stick instead!
In Romania we have many traditions that we practise in the hope of wealth, prosperity and luck with their origins going back to medieval times.
My personal favourite is Santa's Eve Caroling, but there is also Goat Walking, Capra, - a custom that usually lasts from Christmas to the New Year, it is the name given to a traditional Romanian dance, usually performed by a young man disguised as a goat, with a fur on his back. The goat and her companions go from house to house, dancing at everyone’s door, on New Year’s Eve;
Little Plough, Pluguşorul, is a poem which is performed by boys who visit the community with a little plough made of wood, bells and a whip in their hands and it describes the myth of the nation's creation;
Sorcova where a stick or twig decorated with artificial flowers of different colours, which children use to gently hit their parents or acquaintances in the morning of New Year, wishing them, in special verses, health and luck.
Usually at Christmas, families have lunch or dinner together, mostly eating traditional food like Piftie or Sarmale.
2021 was in many ways a good year for us, but more than anything I wish 2022 will take us back to normality. What I miss the most is the connection between people and the time we spend together.