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Easter in ROMANIA

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Orthodox Easter is a celebration in Romania; a religious holiday as well as a symbol of spring. At midnight, Romanians gather at churches big and small across the country as Holy Saturday becomes Easter, lighting candles during the Service that they then carry home to bless their families for the upcoming year. In cities and towns, this custom produces a fantastic view of candles held aloft on the streets as churchgoers head home in the early morning hours. In 2012 the Romanian Orthodox Easter Sunday is on 15 April.

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The Easter is the most important celebration of the Romanian people and it is preceded by numerous preparations and rituals. April 7: Flowers Saturday (Lazarus’Saturday) April 8: Palm Day (Flowers Day) April 12: Great Thursday April 13: Great Friday April 15: Easter

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Lazarus, the character whose name was given to this day can have various meanings. He is thought to be either the brother of Martha and Mary, who was resurrected by Jesus, prior to His entrance in Jerusalem, either Lazarus the poor, either “Lazarica” (a Romanian diminutive of Lazarus), who died craving for pies. April 11: Flowers Saturday (Lazarus’Saturday)

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A week before the Easter, the Flowers Day (Romanian: “Florii) is celebrated. This was initially dedicated to the Roman goddess Flora, but then it was celebrated in the memory of the Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem.This day is the celebration of the nature revival, when the willows, the fruit trees and the flowers bloom. The willow plays a very important role in the rituals. April 8: Palm Day (Flowers Day)

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The Thursday before the Easter is called “the Great Thursday”, “the Thursday of sufferings” or “the black Thursday”.Girls and women must finish sewing the new blouses for the Easter until this day. Otherwise they will be punished by Joimarita, a mythical woman who beats or burns them. She is believed to take the laziest girls at her home and eat them. Another (not so cruel) version goes that Joimarita spells those girls, so that they wouldn’t be able to work all the year. April 12: Great Thursday

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The Friday before the Easter is called the Great Friday. Also named “the Friday of sufferings”, it is the day when Jesus was crucified. People don’t eat on this day, as it is believed that doing that they will be healthy and they will know they’ll dye three days before.The tradition recommends that you step on a piece of iron when you wake up, in order to be protected from bruises. If you bathe in the river before the sun rises, you won’t suffer from bone illness. In Bucovina it is said that who bathes three times in a cold river will be healthy all year long.People go to church to confess. April 13: Great Friday

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It’s a must for the people to have a clean house and have all the ritual foods ready. This is why the cleaning starts on Great Thursday. Men, who are usually working in the field or at the forest, will remain home starting with this day and will take out the thrash, fix the fence, cut wood, bring water, butcher the lambs. April 15: Easter

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Cristos a inviat ! Adevarat a inviat ! Christ is risen! Yes, He is risen indeed. Hand-coloring eggs with intricate designs and religious motifs, using wax-based paints, remains a popular Easter tradition in certain countryside regions across Romania. In the past, only natural colors and plant pigments were used: red onion to obtain the color red, apple tree bark for yellow, mint for green, etc. In the late 19th century chemical colors started to be preferred due to increased efficiency.

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The Small FountainIn some regions, on the Friday before the Easter week, water springs are searched for, wells are built and cleaned. All these are done as it is believed that those springs and fountain will have plenty of water and won’t dry.

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The Good People’s Easter (Dead People’s Monday)The Good People’s Easter is celebrated a week after the Easter, on Monday, right after Thomas’ Sunday. In the Romanian tradition, the Good People are the ancient’s spirits, which live between the two worlds, where Saturday’s water spills into the Earth. The Good People are religious people and fast each time they should, according to the traditions. However they are not aware of the day when Easter is celebrated until they see remains of the painted eggs on the water, about eight days later.

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