The cultural identity of our region is part of who we are. No better time than Christmas to share this heritage with you.
Winter traditions are different in every corner of this world. Back home, in Maramures, across valleys of the beautiful Carpathian Mountains and isolated from modern life, you may still find villages where rituals are kept alive and passed down from generation to generation.
Starting from the youngest child to the eldest member of the community, everybody attends Holidays preparations. Each home has a certain unmistakable smell and warmth at this time of the year, since women prepare traditional dishes and special treats for the children who will go from house to house singing Christmas carols.
Carolling is usually associated with Christmas, but its origins are rather connected with the winter solstice and the passing into a new year. So, in Romania carolling takes place throughout December and into the first days of January. Men gather together, and play roles inspired by myths and legends while wearing colourful handmade masks and bells. They walk through the village to protect it from evil spirits.
The traditional costumes are decorated with colourful patterns, usually geometrical or floral ones. They are crafted from natural fabrics and display slight differences from one village to another. Costumes play a significant role in the Christmas celebration. Everybody wears the inherited pieces of clothing with joy and pride. It’s their statement for being part of an old cultural community, no longer existent in other parts of Europe.
Story and Photos by Diana Chereches