Christmas celebrations are held on the 25th, 26th and 27th of December and are important in the Romanian culture. The main reason being that Romania is a religious country and the birth of Jesus Christ represents, of course, the main event. However, even in a religious country such as Romania, the religious meaning has diminished over the years and the bearded guy in a red suit sliding down the chimney took the spotlight. In the communist era, the religious meaning of Christmas was banished. In those times, you were not allowed to celebrate at Church and you weren’t allowed to even mention that you are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Even the name of “Father Christmas” was changed to “Father Frosty”. There was no “Christmas time”, but “Winter celebrations”.
However, in modern times, in Romania, the Xmas celebrations are pretty similar to all the christian countries. All the cities in Romania are decorated with lights and season trees. Families gather around the tables in cheer and joy and children receive gifts under the Christmas trees. Carolers come to the door spreading the Lord’s good will. However, if you are planning to come to Romania at this time of the year, there is a list of traditions you can expect.
- Romanians are feasting for forty days before the winter celebrations. This means that they don’t eat any food containing products of animal origin like cheese, meat or eggs. This is why, the Christmas meals are rich in pork meat. Pork is the main course for Christmas in Romania.
- A few days before Christmas, orthodox priests go from door to door to bless the houses and the families. They knock on the door and then come into the house and start a blessing ritual.
- Santa Claus is leaving presents under the tree on Christmas night
- Children are writing letters to Santa
- The Christmas tree is being decorated on Christmas Eve
- There is a custom to decorate the Christmas tree with chocolate sweets
- Also, people hang mistletoe on the door frame
- People living in villages sacrifice pigs a few days before Christmas. Now, the regulation are stating that the pig would be humanely sacrificed. In Romania, people are a big fan of sausages, stake and, on Christmas, for roasted pig skin with salt. In the big cities, the sacrificing ritual is no longer kept and people are going into a shopping frenzy to fill the Christmas table. Some would consider this tradition a barbaric custom, but there is no difference whatsoever between sacrificing the pig inside the rural household or at the slaughter house.
- On the first day of Christmas, families gather and join the table for the feast. The main courses are traditional and it can be an unique entertaining experience for a foreigner to take part to a traditional meal.
The Romanian people are warm and welcoming. The winter celebrations are really worth being spent in this country.