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To many, Romania is a country marked by mysticism. Considering the old traditions and folk tales that are still alive in the everyday life, this might not come as a surprise. From creative traditional culture to fantastic creatures and witchcraft, the Romanian countryside has a touch of magic and color that can be revealed for those curious to discover it. Besides exploring the popular natural and architectural attractions, Romania tourism is also about learning more about its traditions, customs, and stories passed on generation after generation.
So, to mark and celebrate Midsummer’s Day, we will present five enchanting Romanian traditions and superstitions related to this pre-Christian summer celebration.
The longest day of the year is a topic for many magical rituals across the world. Carrying the symbolism of a new cycle, light, warmth, and growth of crops, the summer solstice reminds people about the magical power of the Sun and nature.
On the 21st of June, it is believed that the Cookoo bird stops singing. According to a local legend, on this day the cuckoo is believed to choke on a grain of barley, only to be resurrected as a hawk in six months. The cuckoo bird carries a lot of symbolism in rural Romania, and its singing (depending on where it is heard) marks sudden changes in the weather, it’s a sign of good health, luck, marriage, or even death.
“Sâziene” is the name of the good fairies of Romanian folklore. These mystical creatures are celebrated every year on the 24th of June in what is believed to be a pre-Christian celebration of the Summer Solstice, found in many places in Eastern Europe, Baltic states, Nordic countries, and Russia. These agrarian deities are beneficial fairies who live in the forests. On the night of their celebration, between the 23rd and the 24th of June, it is believed that they wake up and dance, helping plants grow healthy, strong, and filled with healing properties.
In the folk culture, it is believed that on this special night, the skies open up and magical things can happen to anyone who is a true believer.
In the rural areas of Romania, on the Eve of the Sânziene celebration, girls to be married pick up Lady’s bedstraw flowers (Galium verum), braid flower wreaths, and throw them on the roof. If the person throwing the wreath of Sânziene is a girl and the wreath remains on the roof it’s a sign that there will be a wedding soon that year. Elderly people throw wreaths on the roof to check how much time they have left. If the wreath falls from the roof, it is believed death is near.
Also, on the night of the 23rd of June, unmarried women are said to see their future husbands if they put lady’s bedstraw flowers underneath their pillow.
Midsummer is associated with fertility, beauty, and love, so most rituals are meant to increase the chances of conception and preserve feminine beauty. This Midsummer ritual is believed to do both: in the dawn of the 24th of June, women who bathe in the rivers or wash their face with the morning mist will remain healthy and beautiful, they will be safe from disease and be able to bear strong children.
According to an ancestral peasant tradition, the Sânziene day is crucial for predicting the weather. If it rains after Midsummer, the next 40 days will be rainy.
Also, on Sânziene’s Eve, it is said that the fairies bless animals, clean fountains, and offer healing properties to wild plants. So, this is the proper time to be foraging wild plants for later use in magical practices, treating illness, and scaring away evil spirits.
The countryside is still a land of magic and hidden traditions that make Transylvania holidays an enchanting and bewitching experience. If you’re interested in holidays in Romania or looking for the best hotels in Transylvania, Bethlen Estates might be what you’re looking for.
Our mission is to offer you a unique experience of Romania’s luxury travel and give you a taste of what an all-inclusive holiday to Transylvania can feel and look like: a full sense of privacy, tranquility, wellbeing, and the chance to experience the authentic Transylvania country life. Besides experiencing its mysterious traditions and bucolic scenes, Romania’s luxury travel is something you have to try at least once in a lifetime.
Learn more about Bethlen Estates, our beautifully restored 300-year-old residences, and find out why we are a top luxury holiday estate in Romania, here.
176 Criș, Judetul Mures