The bear is a symbol of strength and courage in Romania, and through out the country, Bears are at the heart of an unusual New Year festival designed to chase away evil spirits. Children and adolescents are dressed from head to foot in bear-skin pelts. It's an old tradition for people to wear brightly colored costumes or bear pelts & travel to different houses dancing to ward off evil. The children sing children sing Plugusorul and Sorcova. Within these songs the listener is wished good luck, happiness and success. 

An old tradition is that the year that is just beginning so they will dance and sing to ensure that it will be sunny and full with rich harvests for the families that will leave their lamps lit on New Year’s night until the dawn's first light.

On the New Year’s morning, another tradition is for families toss money into the water where they wash their hands, ritualizing that it will ensure them money into their hands during the entire year. Just before midnight of the 31st of December, the peasants predict the weather in the following year. They use large onion peels which the peel off symbolizing the months of the year. They sprinkle salt on each of the peels. Just before the bell tolls midnight on January 1st St. Basile’s Day or 'Sanvasiu' they check the leaves. If a leaf is dry, that month will be drought. If the leaf has lot of liquid it is predicted that it will be a rainy month.

Romania is rich with tradition. The New Year celebration is one of joy, prediction and celebration.

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Comment by Aly Evrett on December 26, 2011 at 10:13pm

What  a lovely tradition it is Stefan!

                                      xoxo,

                                   Aly Evrett

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