Knee deep in research I lost my way between dusty manuscripts but I am excited to have discovered a forgotten Spring legend tied to a Romanian tradition.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, for if it wouldn’t have happened it wouldn’t have been told…
Legend says that the Sun, bewildered by the livelihood of Spring with its slow onset, elevated by the burst of energy that seemed to take over the world… everywhere but where he lived… the Sun himself, sick and tired of the long hibernation forced upon him in the company of Winter, a guest that seemed never to plan on leaving… the Sun decided to run away.
And to escape through the gates of Heaven he even had a plan. A well thought plan. A plan fabricated during the long, cold, boring nights spent in the company of Winter.
The Sun placed nine crones, one on each one of the nine stallions that were pulling his carriage! He did so knowing very well that the crones will be ‘more wicked than Lucifer itself’ and so they will drive the horses till they will give their last breath running.
The Sun and his suite drove like the wind through the gates of Heaven and off they went! The pull from their chase even stirred the robes of Saint Toader, the Heavenly guardian of the Sun. Now Saint Toader, stiff as he was after the long winter, a little bit sore in the joints too, caught sight of the fleeting group one second too late. Saint Toader ran to the Heaven’s stables as fast as his robe and his age allowed him, grabbed nine strong stallions placing on them nine seniors with beard as white as his and hands as gnarly as his own… and after he seated himself in his carriage they took off, chasing after the Sun.
Saint Toader and his team searched and searched for eight long days but alas, they lost track of the Sun. Perhaps because the crones were indeed as evil as the fame preceding them said they will be. And they had driven the horses so forcefully that even the skies shook and blizzards and snow storms fell onto Earth. A calamity after another.
The seniors riding ahead of Saint Toader’s carriage, gentle as they were, could not keep up with the crones.
Until the ninth day when one of the seniors caught sight of the Sun and together with the others finally caught up – determined as they were to get the Sun to follow his celestial path again. The one intended for him by God.
And in the day when Saint Toader and his nine seniors found the Sun the Earth, with all its creatures, came to life! In Spring.
And this is why during March, we celebrate in Romania:
- starting with the 1st of March, for 9 days, we celebrate the 9 Crones, Babele, starting with Dochia. These days are renowned for their fickle weather.
- on the 10th of March begin the 9 days we celebrate the Seniors, Mosii – days that always have a milder weather. And from these nine days stands out:
- the 17th of March – the day of Alexii.
17 March – the Spring Legend of Alexii and another Romanian tradition – Alexiile
Legend says that humankind suffered terribly at the cost of insects, both crawling and winged. So God, in His good heart, caught them all and placed them in a box. Then he called Alexie, his trusted man, and gave him the box to throw into the sea.
But Alexie, true to his nature, could not resist the temptation and took one peek. He thought that just one will be enough.
And no one will ever know.
And all the bugs scattered all over Earth again.
For his punishment Alexie was turned into a heron and made to gather bugs between 17 March and 14 September.
Did you know that it is around 17th of March when migrating herons and storks return?
The Romanian fishermen also say that it is Alexie who brings the fish to the surface again, from the depths of the waters where they love to hibernate. They also say that if you eat an uncooked fish, just a tiny one mind you, on this day of Alexie you will have a rich catch each day for the next year.
Well, I don’t fish, but I certainly remember the fickle days of March from my childhood. I only discovered now that the Sun ran away to warmer lands and it was his chariot and his stallions who shook the last of the snow from the late Winter clouds… A spring legend and a Romanian tradition to treasure.
Have a blessed Spring and good luck fishing 😉
And I mounted on my saddle.
What I said it wasn’t babble.