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Traditions and customs

Traditions and customs

Preserved since ancient times, inherited and told by the oldest inhabitants of Dobrogea, the traditions and customs of this area are highlighted by their originality and by the consistency with which they are practiced.

One of the customs encountered in the Dobrogea area is the “Lazarel“. This is practiced on Flower Saturday, especially in localities with a majority Greek population, such as Izvoarele. It is said that Lazarus dies while he is in the forest to bring food for the animals, and while the mother and the maidens of the village mourn him, a tree grows from Lazarus’ grave with rich branches. On Palm Sunday, the residents of Dobrogea decorate their homes with willow branches.

Olaria” is also preserved in Dobrogea, a tradition that purifies the air and banishes evil spirits from the locality. Depending on the city, this tradition is also called Orarie and Hurhumbalu. In order to respect this tradition, the inhabitants of the cities light fires on the hills from vegetable remains or from the fodder consumed by animals during the winter. It is said that this gives way to new and prosperous vegetation.

On Easter, in Dobrogea, the “Caloian” is also practiced, a popular custom of bringing rain and warding off drought. In order to observe this custom, a clay doll is made, which is buried in the field, and after a while it is disembowelled, torn into pieces and scattered on the field. This gesture symbolizes fertility, the abundance of crops and the regeneration of vegetation.

In the localities of Niculiţel, Luncaviţa, Văcăreni, Jijila and Măcin, the custom called Paparuda is practiced. For this, the young people sprinkle themselves with water. Both the young and the old women in the localities have to sing and dance to summon the rain, then they are drenched.

Practiced in many areas of the country, caroling is one of the customs that is still preserved in Dobrogea. The children go and carol in the morning before the Christmas holiday, but also during the rest of the day until late in the evening. In some areas, the boys still gather and set off in groups to visit relatives and friends and bring the spirit of Crăiun into people’s homes, through traditional songs.

In the localities of Niculiţel, Valea Teilor, Greci, Enisala, caroling with masks – “Ursul”, “Brezaia”, “Capra” – is practiced in the evening of Christmas Eve. Instead, in the city of Măcin, the “Goat” goes on New Year’s Eve.

On Christmas Eve, in the Măcin area, young people go with the “Oleleul”, a custom by which several young people gather, who beat the ground with their clubs, sitting in a circle or semi-circle in front of the households they want to carol. It is said that, through this gesture, households are protected from evil spirits.

At the same time, “Mosoiul” is practiced, currently, only in Luncaviţa, this being a custom of caroling with masks, which has become emblematic.

On New Year’s Day, Sowing is practiced, children going from house to house to throw grains of wheat and wish their hosts all the best in the new year. This tradition is auspicious for the fruit of the earth.

Also on New Year’s Day, the children go with Sorcova to people’s houses, to wish them good luck and only happiness.

Epiphany, custom practiced on January 6, consists in the recovery by the boys of the cross thrown into the water of the Danube, thus proving their passage among men.

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