16 February 2015

The Romanian version of Valentine's Day

People celebrate love in particular ways all over the globe. 
Romanians have something equivalent to the well-known Valentine's Day.
And GEYC is here to give you all the scoop on this pagan holiday.

Dragobete is a pagan Romanian holiday celebrated each year on the 24th of February. 
It originates from the Dacian times and it is associated with love, companionship and is the equivalent of Cupidon, the god of love, from the roman mythology, Eros from the Greek one or Valentine's Day.

Dragobete was told to be the son of Baba Dochia, the character that in the Romanian mythology is associated with the beginning of Spring and the end of the winter season.

It is told that on Dragobete's day the birds start building their nests and mating. Just like the birds, young girls and boys from the villages were supposed to meet on this specific day and embrace their  love. It was said that those that will not find a mate on Dragobete's day will remain single for the rest of the year.
If the weather was good, boys and girls would meet to sing and dance together and collect the first flowers of the new season. The girls would also collect the unmelted snow and save the water to use in specific days of the year.

Dragobete's day incorporates numerous myths and rituals, some if which are still practiced by youngsters in some parts of Romania.

One of these rituals entails girls washing their hair with water from the unmelted snow in order to maintain their beauty throughout the year. It is also said that this water was used for charms in order to get the attention of your loved one.

Lovers must seal their love with a kiss on Dragobete's day if they want to prolong their romance. Dragobete's day also stands for an unofficial engagement through which lovers share their long lasting love to one another.

Tradition says that no one should be sad on Dragobete's day if they don't want to spend the rest of the year being upset. Being sad on this specific day would attract bad luck, diseases and misfortune. That is exactly why people should spend Dragobete's day celebrating and enjoying life. 
Women were supposed to clean their house before this day in order to have a wealthy year and be loved by their husbands. Dragobete's days was a day of celebration, people were not supposed to work the land or else they would attract upon themselves the anger of Dragobete.

In the village universe of Romania, Dragobete's day represented a celebration that included the whole community, a celebration though which young boy and girls would have the opportunity to declare their love to one another. It involved games and rituals, one of them being "zburătoritul", an event through which the boys would run after girls, trying to catch them and kiss them. The kiss marked the beginning of their relationship.