In the third of our series about Christmas around the world, today's guest blogger Raluca Lucacel tells us about Christmas in Romania:
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It has been my favorite holiday ever since I can remember. I like it because everyone is happy and positive around this time of the year. More than that, I also get to spend time with family, close friends, and eat good food.
I was asked to write a few words about a Romanian Christmas and I will try to do it the best I can, but I must confess that I have only celebrated Christmas in the part of Romania where I come from (Maramures – located in the north-west part of the country). In Maramures we usually have snow for Christmas, because the area is located at the bottom of the mountains. We have slopes and ice-skating rinks where we can truly enjoy the winter.
We always spent Christmas at my grandparents’ house in their small village. The atmosphere here was very different from what you would find in a big town, because everyone is so familiar. We used to go to other peoples’ houses to sing carols and we would receive in return something called *pupaza* (a kind of bread shaped like a doll with eyes made of peas) if you were a girl, or *colac* (a kind of bread shaped like a ball) if you were a boy.
We would go to all the houses in the village, around 300 of them and sing a short carol in order to receive the goods. The amazing thing is that children today are doing the exact same thing and each of them brings a smile to your face when they enter your house. The tradition is quite old as my grandparents were doing the exact same thing, but I cannot say exactly how old it is. I will for sure research this topic soon.
Adults also go round and sing carols all night on December 24th. They usually visit relatives and they spend the night singing and enjoying the Christmas spirit. On December 25th, everyone goes to church and listens to carols performed by a choir. We also eat a lot during the winter holidays because of course we have good food and tasty cookies. We mainly eat pork meat (smoked, and baked in the oven) with smashed potatoes for Christmas and drink wine.
It is indeed magical, you can feel the spirit of Christmas everywhere and for a short period, you feel like you are in another world, one where everyone is happy and wants to share the positive aspects of the world we are living in.