In Romania, New Year is not only considered as a new start of calendar or a new date, but is also considered as a mark to make new positive initiations in life. People dance, play music, cheer out loud, and most importantly abide by all possible rituals, customs, and traditions to mark the arrival of New Year.
With the arrival of New Years Eve, one can sense the spirit, enthusiasm, and fervor flowing all around in every bit of air. Sound out of the ringing bells, bull sounds, and music being played all over the place makes one feel like a part of a movie, with a background festive score. Also, the sights of people dancing through the streets, like no less than a procession, reflects the dynamism and enthusiasm hold by the people for the day.
In villages, people commences the morning time on New Years Eve with the ancient tradition of ‘Little Plough’ (Plugusorul). As a part of it, villagers and farmers pray for a fruitful and rich harvesting year ahead. As a part of this tradition, children, and people of young age who are the ploughmen for the custom, play whips, bells, and rings.
Also, there is another instrument called as ‘bull’, which when played, creates a sound similar to that of a bull’s roar. In the evening, the tradition of ‘Old Plough’ is observed. It is in no way different from the ‘Little Plough’, other than a point that it has older men performing the rituals. Also, they use real farming tools, along with two oxen to plough the field.
In the evening time, most of the villages have planned cultural programs, in which everyone from the village come in, wearing colorful amusing masks. As a part of celebrations, local people showcase their tradition by performing their customary dance on traditional music.
Most of the traditions observed by people of Romania have some or the other significance, and most of the time, that significance is related to one’s fate and about optimistic hopes for the future. The traditions as followed on the occasion of New Years Eve are no different.
Bear ritual is one important practice associated with the history of the Romania celebrations on New Years Eve. As a part of it, people dress themselves in vibrant clothes or clothes made of artificial animal fur. Then, they gather to form groups, and then make a visit to every house in the neighborhood while dancing. This very old bear tradition is believed to sway all evils and negativities away and out of a household and the lives of people living in them.
In return, people usually present them with some cash. In last few years, this tradition has gained prominence in urban parts of the country as well. Similarly, there are masks’ games and goats’ games organized in several parts of Romania on New Years Eve.
It is also believed that the way with which one behaves on New Years Eve, is the way with which one will pass his life through the entire coming year. Therefore, it is always recommended to have jovial mood and smiling faces. On the same lines, there is a tradition of keeping a lamp lit all through the New Years Eve till the dawn of New Year’s Day. Doing so is believed to confer adequate sunshine and good harvest in the coming year.
To get conferred with wealth and prosperity in the coming year, there is a tradition of tossing a coin in the water, in which one washes hands. Keeping some money in the pocket at the time of the arrival of New Year, and preferably all through the New Years Eve is also a tradition, which is believed to draw a prosperous year ahead. Don’t over sleep; otherwise one might remain lethargic all through the year.
Vergel is another prominent tradition, which is used for making future predictions, in particularly for the married life of the unmarried people. Similarly, there is a tradition of predicting weather in different months of the coming year, by unpeeling the onion peels in an order reflecting the months of the coming year. Then, some salt is applied over those peels. Then the amount of water left in the peels is checked, and is used for determining the weather of a certain month of the coming year.