Strange rituals in the Carpathians

Every people has their own cultural baggage of rituals. Some rituals are trivial and go into normality, and some rituals will make you think or even frightening.
In this article we propose to discover together the most strange rituals in the Carpathian region.

1. Evil Eye aka “Deochiul”

Here we do not refer to the fashion area, the Kim Kardashian style with the dedicated Blue Amulet. This is the real deal. The beliefs in the Evil Eye curse has deep roots in the soul of this people. Even today, around 70% of Romanians believe in Evil Eye . (according to IRES – Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy).

The romanian believe that the most affected by Evil Eye curse are children. Children suffering from symptoms such as migraines, lack of appetite, nausea, agitation, tired sleep have been touched by the spell.

Not only children and young people are targeted. Touching by the “Evil Eye” can be both animals and some goods: house, car. The evil may be involuntary or intentional.

The ritual by which the romanians neutralize the evil eye is an incantation known as “Descantec“. Not everyone can perform this ritual. The incantation is practiced by experienced people, often old women and gypsies.

Made by a novice, or by a man without experience or faith, the ritual has no effect. If during the ritual, the affected person yawning, it is a good sign, because the evil eye curse leaves out the victim!

Run away evil eye from the eye,
Get out of his way … (the baptismal name of the victim),
On desolate land
Where the wind does not blow,
Where dogs do not bark,
And the roosters do not sing…

fragments from Evil Eye incantations ritual

2. Bathing in money, milk and honey

The first baby bathing is considered by the inhabitants of the Carpathians, very important for the future of a child. At the first bath of the infant, the romanians put in his bathing water: money, gold, basil, milk and honey.

The purpose of this ritual is to provide to the child a rich and prosperious life!

3. New Year’s Fight

© Photos Credit: Dragos Lumpan

Each year, on the New Year’s Eve, in a region of Moldova (Ruginoasa), a very strange ritual is practiced: people spend the new year fighting each other with bats and heavy clubs.
Really? Yes, this ritual is as real as possible: people heaving their faces covered by masks are divided into two camps and are fighting.

The event alerts the authorities, who often intervene to stop the battles.

4. Fairies of destiny

In the mythology of the Romanian people, fairies of destiny are represented by three imaginary beings, what is believed to have the role of influence the fate of the child. These spirits can be heard but never seen.

The ritual of the destiny fairies, requires preparation of a cake, along with candy and wine.

Rituals related to death

Death is a very exploited event in the Carpathian folklore. According to this, our world and the world of spirits have many connections. Romanians keep a close connection with the deceased ones.

An almost general practice is a ritual called “sharing”, by which they give “handout” to the people, honoring the dead.

5. Sharing ritual

The ritual of “sharing” food and wine has the role of feeding the spirit of the dead in the world beyond. Especially the “sharing” ritual takes place on a special day of the year, called:

6. Saturday of the dead

This ritual dates back to ancient times, since the Geto-Dacian tribes, the ancestors of the romanians. Being a very popular pagan ritual among the people, it was also assimilated in Orthodox Christian faith.

According to the custom of the Saturday of the dead, the opening of sky is taking place. As so the transition to the world beyond is easier. Besides traditional food and wine that is shared to the people. The essential element in “sharing” is represented by: “Koliva“.

7. Koliva

It is a desert made of wheat and arpas, consisting of essences of rum or vanilla, sprinkled with candy and powdered sugar. It is really delicious, being considered by many romanians their favorite dessert!

Koliva is a symbol, an expression of the people’s faith in God and in the Church.

8. The way to the cemetery and the ritual of return

The way to the cemetery is bypassed for the deceased to get harder to the burial site.

To be remembered:

The Orthodox faith expressly requests that the burial be made in the earth, the earth from which man is made. Orthodox faith forbids the burning (creamation) of the body.

The return from the cemetery must be bypassed: to confuse the spirit of the deceased person.

9. Mirrors and souls

The first thing most romanians do when someone closes near them is to cover mirrors and reflective surfaces. This prevents the deceased’s soul from remaining permanently locked in the mirror in the case in which it is seen…

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