Romanian Spring Traditions (part 2) – Woman’s Day and Mucenici

mothers-dayWe continue our spring celebration streak with a wonderful and loving yearly event, Mother’s Day. This day is celebrated since 1977, voted by the UN as International Woman’s Day, and is today celebrated by over 60 countries.

In Romania, at schools, we would take pictures that are made into Mother’s Day cards, we make small gifts for our mothers, we bring flowers to our female teachers and sometimes we even have shows and plays for the women in our lives.

An inspired present for Romanian mothers, grandmothers, wives and more would be a nice day for pampering at the spa, or a nice dinner, either make it yourself or make a reservation at a restaurant in town. This day is a nice opportunity for relaxing or having a blast out in the clubs in Bucharest, where most certainly they will prepare special programs for this celebration. If you are short of idea you can always take the woman or women in your life on a short trip to the mountains, or why not to a 3 day vacation in Transylvania, as this year’s 8th of March is on the weekend. If the budget does not allow you to spend too much, you can always pay a visit to Dalles Galleries in Bucharest where you can find small gifts that are usually hand made. The most popular item sold the last years at Dalles were the homemade cupcakes. We got some fresh ones from Bake Studio that looked like spring just bloomed on a plate.

The next day, on the 9th of March we have another day to celebrate. This time the day can be enjoyed by the men. Some call it the unofficial Men’s Day, but it is actually a religious celebration traditionally named “Mucenici’, that celebrates the 40 martyrs of Sevastia. This orthodox holiday coincided with the new agricultural year, when people start the spring cleaning and start plowing the land. Traditionally this is when winter ends and the warm weather starts to make its way in, and just to make sure the people in the country side hit the ground with whips and hammers to make the cold retreat deep in the ground, and say prayers and chants to make sure it stays this way. Teenagers jump over fires to shake the cold off them, and dance and sing to celebrate the new season.

The most remarkable tradition of this day is the food that bares the name of the this holliday, the mucenici. The Mucenici are 40 in number to celebrate the 40 martyrs and they are called saints, mucenici or bradosi. They are basically sweet pastry made with honey, cinnamon and walnuts. Depending on the region they are shaped like ribbons or like the number 8, they are either baked or boiled and the recipes are as varied as there are tastes.

mucenici muntenesti vs moldovenesti

If you are interested in some varieties of mucenici recipes you can check the link below:

Another tradition on the 9th of March is to drink 40 glasses of wine, or palinca in the honor of the martyrs, which I must say is a most popular tradition in Romania.


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