The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

The good, old bear, or the grizzly ursine, populated Romanian mythology since the times of the Thracians, and tales of its powers and wisdom have left their paw-prints on the Romanian folklore too.

The bear as a totem, as a symbol of one’s ancestry, was an animal revered by ancient Thracian religion, alongside the wolf. Why, it is even whispered in legends that the great Zalmoxix, the god worshiped by Geto-Dacians, was wrapped in a bear’s skin right after his birth. To soak up the power and the strength of the great beast, and perhaps even its endurance.

It isn’t a coincidence then that the bear held an important place in the beliefs and conscience of peoples all over the world. In the Celtic world, the bear was the symbol of warriors and even the root of its Celtic name, artos, sends us to the myth of the bear-goddess Artio and even tothe legend of King Arthur.

In the folklore of Siberia and Alaska, the bear is the beastly equivalent of the Moon as it disappears in late autumn only to reappear in spring. Here, plenty are those who consider the bear as man’s ancestor.

The Bear in Romanian Mythology

gold Dacian Helmet from Cotofenesti has with apotropaic powers

In Romanian mythology the bear is invested with apotropaic powers, able to avert evil influences or to turn around bad luck. While his presence, his spirit, also hold therapeutic and meteorological virtues.

As a result, the Bear Dance emerged. The choreography, as well as the symbology of the bear mask used, of the strength it inspires, depict both death and resurrection, nature’s natural cycle that no one can escape from. After all, the bear always defeats winter – this cruel mistress that leaves little but ice and snow along her path – and announces the forthcoming spring.

The Bear Dance represents the reminiscent of a pagan ritual and one can still observe it today in villages from Moldavian and Bucovina, in north-east of Romania.

Thus, on New Year’s Eve a sleuth of bears can be observed parading and dancing along the main road. Accompanied by drummers, pan flutes musicians, and whistles blowers, under the command of a bear tamer, the Bear Dance is supposed to bring a fertile New Year to the crowds of cheerful onlookers.

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

Much like the old year will soon fade, taking its ailments with it, during their dance the bears die and come back to life. Like the New Year will, stronger and happier.

Folk belief goes that the life cycle of the bear is responsible for regulating nature’s seasons. Not a coincidence then that the movement of the Ursa Major constellation is also closely connected to the sequence of the seasons.

During the 18th and the 19th century bear tamers were often seen along the roads of many European mountain villages. Apart from bringing good luck and spreading strength by their sheer presence, bears were, sadly, taught many tricks too. Luckily, no more life bears on a chain roam the country paths today.

The Bear in Romanian Folklore

In folk tales and legends the bear is indeed depicted as a peculiar creature. But how could they not? Bearing their cubs in the middle of winter; choosing to return to their burrows if the weather turns sunny; choosing forest paths over hibernation if glacial weather advances… Yet there is more. Bears would easily destroy a man-made bridge, yet knock over a tree if a river stops them in their pursuit of food.

Thus, Romanian folklore has associated the bear’s unpredictable behavior with the capricious weather looming between the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

Bear tales…

Bears were believed to heal, through their presence or touch, ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, or fevers. For example in the area near Suceava, Moldavia, they say that if you allow a bear to step on the small of your back (and survive), you will be saved from any other diseases.

Bears could even heal the evil touch of Ielele, the evil eye, or bad spells. But a bear’s robust step was also meant to bring fertility and good fortune to a young family. Of course, once a bear stepped in one’s farmyard, no evil spirit or wild beast will ever set foot in it again. Makes sense…

Ursarii, bear-tamers of the 19th century Europe in a snowed Romanian village.
Old Postcard. Ursarii, bear-tamers of the 19th century Europe in a snowed Romanian village.

I can see now why the bear tamer was always welcomed in people’s yards, and in their homes. To have the bear dance on your property was considered auspicious, and many cheerful days were lined up ahead for your kin.

So, dreamed of a bear lately? Know that you’re in good luck!

Thus, there are a few important dates in Romanian folklore when the Bear, Moş Martin, is celebrated. Here are a few of them.

Theodor Aman, Ursarul (Bear Tamer)
Theodor Aman, 19th century Romanian artist, Ursarul (Bear Tamer)

The Winter Martinii, or San-Martini

Celebrated 40 days after Christmas, between the 1st and the 3rd of February, this celebration is meant to protect livestock and humans against any wolf or bear attacks.

The Bear’s Day, Stretenia (Feats of Presentation), or the telling of a coming spring

Bear’s Day (Ziua Ursului) is celebrated on 2nd February, coinciding with the Christian celebration of the Feast of Presentation, or Stretenia.

The ancestral origin of Stretenia

Stretenia is a celebration as old as the seasons. For it is now when winter and spring stare each other in the eyes. They finally meet again: from the old Slavic word for meeting, greeting, vstrecea –> vstrecenie –> stratenie.

Yet there is another layer to it.

During roman times it was now, in February, that one would prepare oneself, purify oneself to welcome the New Year, celebrated on the 1st of March. Ahead of new field labors meant to start soon, the purification was made with water and fire. Today, candles are used during the Feast of Presentation.

Stretenia, telling the weather

If the bear comes out of his hibernation on this day it means that spring is on its way – even if it’s cold and foggy, even if it snows. The summer will plentiful, the harvest enough for all. But if the bear spots its own shadow on the snow, he will return to its lair for an extra long nap. About 40 days long. Thus, spring is still a long way away.

It clear now why the winter celebrations are connected to the bear ending its hibernation; by following the bear’s behavior, farmers knew when the warm season was approaching.

Interesting to note is that a good wine is said to have bear’s power, while in Romanian folk tradition on the 1st of February Saint Trifon is observed, the protector of vineyards and orchards.

The Bear’s Saturday (Sâmbăta Ursului) – during Easter fasting

Women, especially, celebrated Bear’s Saturday to protect themselves against any beats when rummaging for berries, in summer. So during Bear’s Saturday no one would even whisper the beast’s name. People would not do any work either, so that their cattle and children stay protected against the brown bear.

This Saturday was also considered best for collecting medicinal and magic herbs. for only if picked today do they keep their powers. Like this: when the healing plant was found, a cross was made over it, and a prayer was told. The root was dug out, and in its place a crumb of bread was placed, wetted with a few drops of red wine.

The Old Bear in Romanian Mythology and Folklore

Celebrating the bear in summer

The summer bear’s celebration is connected to honey/ fruit harvest and the peak of the bear mating season – a time when bears move around more than usual and they may accidentally come across humans. Which is why on these days of celebration no work should be performed. On August 13, a special celebration is held, honey pies and wine sweetened with honey are consumed, in the belief that it will protect both livestock and farmers against bear attacks during the honey and fruit and berry harvest (since honey and fruits are part of the bear’s diet). A blessed time, summer preparing for winter by reaping autumn’s bounty.

Romania still holds the largest and most spectacular wilderness of Europe. Its vast ancient forests still grow atop great mountains that reach up and kiss the sky (the Carpathians are 1600 km long, 2544 meters in height). Its winding waters twist and turn among lush flower beds (a third of Europe’s bouquet), and beasts from myth and legend, like the old bear, still roam free.

I’m asking you then, who is the king of animals in Europe?

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Enchanting Solomonars, Romanian Cloud-Chaser Sorcerers

Balea Lac mountain reflected in lake

Enchanting Solomonars, these Romanian cloud-chaser sorcerers, are also called eagles or hail-gatherers, by their skills; cloud-walkers by their powers; dragon-riders to the welkin and back, by their means of transport.

The Solomonars were revered, yet feared, called upon, yet shunned for their innate understanding of nature’s forces; for their instinctive ability to read the weather, even in its wildest exhibitions; for their solid grasping of what was there, yet not seen, felt, yet intangible, life-threatening towards everyone else, but themselves.

Where do Solomonars come from?

Solomonars hail from a millennial realm stretching along the border, suspended between valleys and clouds, Maramureș, the one studded with archaic monasteries and earth-while fortresses.

Snow covered realm Maramures
Snow covered realm Maramureș

And from a land that straddles the northern crease of Oriental Carpathians, the land of Hutsul people… the breeders of sturdy ponies, and crafters of wood.

Or from within the forests neighboring Corvin Castle, the Woodsmen Land. Where inside a defensive ring of ancient forests, amongst rich pastures set around lush meadows, mid orchards layered on man-made terraces, sprout colorful huts clustered around tiny wooden churches and a fistful of gardens.

View from Corvin Castle
Breathtaking Romanian Countryside

Solomonars, like their skill that borders myth and reality, originate from such realms where the fireflies, the Forest Girl or ghosts are as real as the stories they populate. Yet none can pinpoint the first hamlet, nor the time-frame to mark the Solomonars’ origin.

Before Solomonars…

Are they descendants of King Solomon and have inherited his wisdom? Or followers of Prophet Elijah, Saint Ilie in Romanian Orthodox belief and the bringer of rain during drought? Either way, the Solomonars hold the knowledge and the powers to bring rain when needed by opening the skies; to stow away hail and tempests; or to freeze waters, or split ice. And how could they not, when they studied their craft for seven years, away from the garrulous world, locked in their underground school from where they burst again into the light by the strand of clouds they hold in their fists?

How to spot a Solomonar

Don’t believe it yet? Search for them around you and you will spot them by the tome they hold in one hand. Not an ordinary book, but an extension of their knowledge; and not tattered for use, but for the long use of their skill. And by the staff they carry in the other hand. Not an ordinary staff, but a scepter to tame the weather with, and not to show off their powers. Also a cane to lean on, as well as a club to fight beasts with-such as snakes. And, hidden around their neck, hangs a wooden plate, a toaca. Considered the voice of angels and the song of wood, toaca is played with wooden hammers as a prayer to a higher spiritual power.

toaca lemn Christian Orthodox
Toaca, whose song in wood is like the voice of angels in the Christian Orthodox tradition, is struck with wooden hammers in a rhythmic motion as a prayer to a higher spiritual power.

“With toaca I’ll halt you,
Cursed cloud, you,
Over mountains chase you!
But if blessed art thou,
Over village you shall bough.”

(Old Romanian verse, translated by Patricia Furstenberg)

Solomonars deal with forces of nature, unseen and immaterial, so they can’t be bothered with the concrete. They don’t mind their appearance, so don’t search for opulence. A white cloak secured with a birch-tree girdle. And seven vests that they keep on even during hot summers. A woolly hat, or a brimmed one, by the custom of the realm they hail from.

A story with Solomonars…

We ask for rain to come down, but only when it’s needed. And we ask for rain that’s right, and that when it rains, it does not pour… for then, when rain falls like a curtain, that’s when a dragon most probably has fallen from the sky… and when it hails, that’s when two dragons chase through the clouds, swirling past one another and causing such havoc, and such icy blasts, that all raindrops freeze.

What is there to do? For hay can only be made when the sun shines. And crops won’t sprout without blessed rain. Who can tame the weather, but a Solomonar?

So, after long debates, the villagers secretly call him. And he arrives straightaway, as if he knew he was needed. The wise men of the village nod they beards, standing together; the women cross themselves from behind door frames and pull their children into their skirts. Word goes that a Solomonar could steal one, keep him for seven years, and make him his apprentice. And none wish for such an eerie lifestyle.

But the man in the white cloak, the man whose age none can read, asked only for some milk and a few eggs as he strode to the edge of the village, to the lake. None dared follow, yet some stooped behind trees, watching. Blood curled in their veins, eyes sore from squinting. They think they saw him opening his book.
Can’t be all bad if he reads from a book?
And as he read, as the words left his lips and stretched towards the sky – ‘surely not sucked into the ground?‘ – the lake began to freeze. Some said they saw the ice creeping forward from his feet. Some said it started at the center and reached towards him, moaning and screeching like a demon of the night. But they all agreed that when the lake froze over, in the middle of summer, the man in the white cloak strode along it. With ease, with the same surety he showed striding on the road crossing their village. As if the soles of his boots were in perfect agreement with the ice on the lake. And then, after he reached the center of the frozen lake – and here the stories diverged again. Some said he pulled an axe from his belt, while others said he clenched both hands on his mighty staff. Yet they both agreed that while doing so, he was chanting:
What? What?!’
They couldn’t hear…
Oh, blast! And then?‘ Curiosity over-powering fear. And then, through the ice hole – and everyone agreed again – a mighty beast emerged from the lake. A dragon, a balaur! With a mighty tail and a sinuous body. And as soon as the beast emerged from his underworld the Solomonar, as fast as a thought, harnessed and saddled the creature, jumped on and together they reached the domes of the sky. The ice covering the lake following them.
And then? What else?‘ And then it rained. For we asked for rain.

And he was gone, the man in the white cloak, having had a mug of milk, and taking with him only a piece of cheese and boiled eggs, as many as he could fit in his shoulder bag. Few said, red in the face, that they engaged him in some banter. The few who knew better, cared not. The Solomonar was too far up the road, nearing the belt of trees, following the call of the wind. Alone.

If someone disappeared from the village afterwards, it was by their own will. And, again, the few who knew kept their mouths shut-the Solomonar out of sight already. And the crowd who did open up their ears? Why, that’s where I got part of my story from!

Bâlea Lake

“A Solomonar passed,
Mighty dragon in grip,
He struck his whip,
He straddled his beast,
They twisted and spun,
Till the rain began.”

(Old Romanian verse, translated by Patricia Furstenberg)

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A Midsummer’s Night, from Magic Sânzienele to Machiavelli’s Dream

A Midsummer's Night, from Magic Sânzienele to Machiavelli's Dream

It is said that during the midsummer’s night of 1527, a night when Romanians celebrate Sânzienele, the magic Gentle Fairies, Niccolò Machiavelli had his last dream, and a telling dream it was.

It must have been the summer’s giddy energy firing between the Sun and the Earth at exactly ninety degrees during the Summer Solstice that caused this coincidence…

The Midsummer’s Night, Sânzienele, in Romanian Folklore

A Midsummer's Night, from Magic Sânzienele to Machiavelli's Dream

In Romanian folklore the night of Sânziene is a night full of spiritual fulfillment, considered the night when desires can and should be whispered into the Universe for they might just come true under the careful protection of the Sânziene. For the Gentle Fairies, Sânzienele, are good spirits, generous towards those who respect them. Flying on the wings of summer winds, Sânzienele bring, for only one night in the year, its the shortest night, peace and harmony to all, between sky and earth, among animals, plants, humans, and it is believed that during this night only beasts can speak and humans can understand them (or perhaps that man finally – and only now – can understand what animals have to say).

Sânziene Traditions in Romania

If in the eve of Sânziene the girls who wish to get married meet the lads they fancy, then they pick flowers, Sânziene, Lady’s bedstraw or Galium verum, and weave a crown that they throw over the roof of their home. If it gets stuck in the chimney that’s a sure sign that they will marry that year. The girls also place certain fragrant flowers (basil, jasmine, melilot, mallow, rosemary, lavender, thyme, sage, chamomile, verbena, black nightshade) under their pillow during the Sânziene night, hoping that they will dream of the one they are meant to marry.

fragrant herbs Romanian folklore

The boys weave crowns of hazelnut branches to purify the earth. They set them alight and spin them in the direction of the Sun’s movement, and shout along, meant to speed up their wedding day. At dusk, the fiery wheels are rolled down from the hills and into the valleys, like a dancing sun, signifying the cycle of life. The top of the hills where the burning crowns started their journey marks their birth, and their long, fiery journey through the valley means life. After they cease their spinning, the crowns are left to burn till there’s only smoke left, and that’s death.

Sânzienele are also called Drăgaice, Queens of Heavens, Sun’s Brides.

It is after the night of Sânziene that the wheat ripens, but its stalk dries, the nights gets longer, but the days shorten, the flowers start to lose their fragrance and their holistic powers, and in the forests the fireflies show up and dance, while on the sky new constellations dance.

The Night of Sânziene is magical, as the Sun is at the height of its power and its energy spills all over the Earth absorbed by pants, animals and humans. Is this energy what really affecting our psychic, or is it only the fragrant air and the extra daylight what lifts our spirits?

It was during a Midsummer’s Night when Machiavelli had his last dream.

Namib desert at night - How the Snake Lost Its Legs

As was his habit, he had changed his filthy work clothes and put on clean ones, decent enough to receive the visit of princes and kings. And he would have sat by the window, awaiting their arrival, the air was so fragrant tonight, if it wasn’t for a dull ache in his belly.

So he went to lay on the bed.

He couldn’t see the green hills from his bed, nor the first fireflies of summer, yet he knew them to be there. Just like by daylight he couldn’t see the stars… And the stars was what he liked best, especially the earthly one, rulers who have long since died.

Whom shall he chat with tonight? Machiavelli closed his eyes to dull the pain, and think…

And he found himself by the side of the road, not far from his home. It was summer, that very day… he recognized the goldfinch he’d taught to sit on his finger and eat crumbs… But what was that in the distance? As the road soared, so was a cloud of dust. So he waited, forgetting all about the goldfinch, he waited till a group of travelers on foot reached him. They barely dragged their feet, so tired were they, hot from the sun too, they tattered clothes offering little shade for their skinny limbs. Crusty feet, covered in sores, hands and cheeks burned with the long travel, yet their foreheads were serene, their eyes clear, and wrinkles of smiles lined their parchment-like skin.

‘Who are you, good men? Where are you heading to?’ he asked, or he thought he did for he did not hear his voice, only the traveler’s feet moving through the dust.

And then the men, all of them, turned their heads towards him and replied in chorus, yet their voices were not loud, but soft, as soft as velvet. They said, while smiling, ‘We are the blessed ones. We are the Saints of this world. And we’re on our way to Paradise. Of course we are.’

And then they crawled up the road, taking their dust with them, while he remained put, waiting for his goldfinch. Or so he thought. For he’d forgotten what he was doing there, in the middle of the road.

When another cloud, of dust and noise, roared its way up the hill, following the same winding road.

Another group stomped past him, loud and bright, and Machiavelli had to shield his eye, so bright were their clothes, to shiny their jewels.

Could this be? thought Machiavelli, Platon? And Tacitus the politician? And Plutarh?

‘Good men,’ he said, ‘where are YOU going? And why are you all together?’

And they answered, and among the screeching and the yelling he thought he heard, ‘We are those condemned to Hell.’

Then Machiavelli blinked, for the thundering cloud had disappeared just like that, and he was laying on his bed again, while on his windowsill sat the first fireflies of summer. And he wondered, he did, what his dream meant and apparently he chose, he did, which group he liked better.

Had it been the Midsummer’s magic energy that revised Machiavelli’s mind one last time? The fireflies’ last hope? Who knows. For, just as the stars are up during the day although we cannot see them, we do not know which group Machiavelli chose either. We only know that he could choose, one last time.

Enjoy the Midsummer’s magic night, with its last gift of summer. Sweet dreams 🙂

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A Humorous Legend from Țara Bârsei and Bran Castle Photos

A Humorous Legend from Țara Bârsei and Bran Castle Photos

I promised you a humorous legend, this one’s from Țara Bârsei (Burzenland in German or Barcaság in Hungarian), where Brașov and Bran Castle are located.

Țara Bârsei received its name from Bârsa River that runs through it. Bârsă is an ancient word of Dacian origin and it is a part of a plow. This area of south-eastern Transylvania and Carpathians and inhabited by Romanian tribes was donated by King Andrew II of Hungary to the Teutonic Knights invited here during the 12th – 13th centuries to defend the eastern-most borders of the growing Hungarian Empire.

During the following centuries and until today Romanians, Hungarians and German Saxons cohabited here, in Țara Bârsei.

Know that Bran Pass – with Bran Castle nearby – is the narrow mountain pass that allows access from Wallachia, located in the south of today’s romania, to Țara Bârsei and Transylvania.

The right tributary of Bârsa River is Turcu River and it runs past Bran Castle.

A Humorous Legend from Țara Bârsei

It was a hot spring day, the sun blazing for spring, yet the forest shade too cool for summer. A man from Burzenland was heading towards Bran Pass and further south, to Wallachia. His cart was filled with weapons manufactured by his guild and highly thought after in Wallachia and even as far as Moldavia. With a bit of luck he’ll return before the summer rains drenched the roads, with a cart full of grains. His wife wanted spices and silks from the east and a Turkish rug too. He would have rather bought one of those sturdy horses the Wallachians breed.

Nevertheless, any trade was a good trade and any profit made a good count.

He checked the sky, bright and blue, he checked the road, rocky but dry. Perhaps rockier than he remembered. And the cart shook in the rhythm of the horses, clip-clop, clip-clop, the reins solid in his hand, his wife by his side. Her eyes half closed against the heat. Ahead, the rickety bridge over Bârsa River. The man shook the reins, the horses pulled, and the big wheels hopped onto the bridge. This bridge needs mending, thought the man.

‘Hold on tight, woman,’ he said, ‘we’re on the bridge.’

Had she not heard him? For she slipped and fell right in Turcu River. With a big splash. Droplets even landed on the merchant’s cheek, cooling him off.

The man pulled the horses onto a halt right after the bridge, the reins still solid in his hand. He looked at the empty spot by his side, he looked at the river.

Nut much later, and quite upstream, a shepherd minding his flock saw a man running along the river, every now and then stopping to check the moving waters.

‘Good man,’ called the shepherd, ‘what’s amiss?’

‘I’m searching for my wife. She fell into the river.’

‘No, how come you’ looking for her upstream? You’ll never find ‘er there,’ said the shepherd and stood, ready to land a hand.

‘ ‘Tis my wife,’ said the merchant lifting his shoulders, ‘always so twisted in her doings. Backwards all the time. So I thought I better look for her up the river,’ and off he went.

The shepherd sat back on is rock and scratched his forehead, his black hat pushed to the side, and thanked the Lord that his wife was always doing things the right way.

Bran Castle Photos for Thursday Doors

Where we return to Bran Castle for more charming doors:

A door opening onto the inner balcony.
Bran Castle carved door terracotta tiles oven
Above: Bran Castle wooden carved door and a terracotta tiled oven
Two doors, the torture chamber room and the Iron Maiden, Bran Castle
Two doors above, witch one will you choose? The door of the torture chamber room or the door to the Iron Maiden? Bran Castle

Remember the Iron Maiden on Fagaras Castle?

Bran Castle carved door wood

Leaving the door open to Bran Castle for we will return. *Update: Bran Castle, Time Tunnel Explained, All You Need to Know

thursday doors, 100 words story

Thursday Doors is a blog feature everyone can take part in, hosted by Dan Antion over at No Facilities blog where you can discover more doors from around the world.

June, Cireşar, a Month for the Young at Heart

June Ciresar a month for those young at heart

I vote we turn June, Cireşar how it is called in Romanian folklore, from the cherries twice ripe now, the month of everyone who’s young at heart. Who’s with me? 😉

June, a month whose name is as old as time

Yes, June derives from Latin Junius, but it is assumed that it could actually be derived from junior, juniores, meaning a younger man in Latin, the youth.

This way, it makes sense that this month of June be meant to celebrate the young population of the Roman Empire, juvenis, juvene.

“Romulus organised the people,
Dividing them into two parts, according to age:
One was ready to give advice, the other to fight:
One decided on war, while the other waged it.
So he decreed, and divided the months likewise:
June for the young (iuvenes): the month before for the old.”

Ovid in Fasti, Book Six, June
June, Cireşar, a Month for the Young at Heart

Why June ought to be the month of those young at heart

One must be realistic now and consider the life expectancy (not life span) during the times of the Roman Empire, that was of about 25 years of age (factoring in the high infant and child mortality).

While today, the life expectancy of men and women had long opened wide the gates of the eighties.

As old blue eyes put it, “For it’s hard, you will find / To be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.” 🙂

So, again, I think we ought to turn June, Cireşar (a month when the cherries, aptly, ripe twice), into the month of everyone who’s young at heart. 😉

I think that something amazing can happen when you’re young at heart.

As I write this, outside is a very cold autumn day, for we’re on the other half of the world here, in South Africa. It is overcast, it rained and it is cold, yet my heart (who lived in the northern hemisphere for a long while) knows it is the 1st of June, and I feel cheery and happy inside. Look, even the sun tries to shine outside my window now.

red rose for the young at heart

A second, hidden etymology of the month of June

Yet if you glanced upon Ovid’s poem, you will know that there is another explanation for the origin of June, namely the goddess Iuno (Iunona or Junona) – Roman godess of childbirth and fertility, and the protective goddess of women.

I remember reading somewhere: “as any man has his muse, any woman has her Juno.”

But since Juno (as any Roman goddess could) married her sibling Jupiter (or Jove), the symbology of the month June might have been changed over time, perhaps even at the request of the Church.

Old Romanian beliefs connected with the month of June

Vlachs of old Wallachia (today part of Romania) believed that June threw at the thunders and lightnings in abundance, then the summer that just blossomed will be an overcast one.

If June is rainy, then on Christmas we will enjoy an abundant feast.

If the warm, Great Wind blows in summer from the north, then the wheat harvest will be early, and rich, while a rainy June will bring a wealth of corn.

But also, one should not swim on 24 June (around Summer Solstice, Midsummer Day) when it the Drăgaica celebration happens (a day set aside for the ritual involved in the protection of grain cultures, but fruits too), for it is danger of drowning.

Although, if you can cross a water three times on Drăgaica day ans till make it to shore, then you will be safe from drowning for the remainder of the year…

Romanians are renowned for their sharp (black) humor…

Drăgaica was the name used for this celebration in greater Wallachia, while Sânziene was used in Moldavia. Discover s much more on Romanian folklore on my blog here.

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