Dragobete, the Romanian Valentine’s Day
The Romanian equivalent of Valentine’s Day is called Dragobete. It dates back to Dacian times and is celebrated on February 24th.
Dragobete is the equivalent of Cupid, love’s god in Roman mythology, or Eros in Greek mythology. Dragobete, Youth God in Romanian Pantheon, nicknamed Spring Head, is celebrated, depending on the ethnographic area, on one of the days at the end of February or beginning of March.
The legend claims that Dragobete is Dochia’s son. He stands for a positive element, in opposition to Dochia who is the bad mother of the earth, the embodiment of the old year, of winter, according to Geto-Dacian mythology. Dochia is represented as an old woman wearing nine sheepskins that she sheds along the road as she leaves the country.
It is around Dragobete time that the birds begin to build their nests and mate. Dragobete customs vary from region to region. Considered locally the first day of spring, it is the moment when boys and girls pick snowdrops or other early spring plants for the person they are courting, and sing together. The girls keep the flowers until Sanziene day when they throw the flowers in a river.
As a rule, young people, girls and boys, meet at a house and spend the day together singing, eating and drinking, having a good time. Then they go to the nearby forest and make a hora, (traditional dance).
On Dragobete morning the girls and young women gather snow, melt it and use the water to wash their hair. They say their hair and complexion will be pretty and liked by men all year long.
Those who take part in Dragobete customs are supposed to be protected from illness, especially fevers, for the rest of the year. It is a common belief in some parts of Romania that, during this celebration, if you step over your partner’s foot, you will have the dominant role in your relationship.
Dragobete festivities, once awaited anxiously by young people living especially in Bucovina county, are almost forgotten. Only elderly people speak about them, trying to rekindle the flame in the heart of the young generations.
I fear this is unlikely to happen as Saint Valentine’s Day, that has no connection to Romanian spirituality, is a strong competitor. And a good advertiser for all kind of trades. All Dragobete rituals are little by little lost and replaced by the more glittering and louder ones of Valentine’s Day. No matter how beautiful Romanian traditions may be, the interculturalism is leaving its print on our customs.
Anyway, for those who still celebrate it, I wish a Happy Dragobete Day!
Author Carmen Stefanescu
Shadows of the Past
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Genre: paranormal/light romance/light historical/light horror.
Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend Neil has disintegrated. After a two-year separation, they pack for a week vacation in hopes of reconciling. But fate has other plans for them.
The discovery of a bejeweled cross and ancient human bones opens a door to a new and frightening world–one where the ghost of a medieval nun named Genevieve will not let Anne rest. This new world threatens not only to ruin Anne and Neil’s vacation but to end all hopes of reconciliation as Anne feels compelled to help free Genevieve’s soul from its torment.
Can Anne save her relationship and help Genevieve find her eternal rest?
A touching, compelling story of tragedy, loss and the power of endless love and good magic.
The twists and turns in this paranormal tale keep the reader guessing up to the end and weave themselves together into a quest to rekindle love.
Buy Link: Wild Child Publishing
Buy Link: Barnes & Noble