Easter traditions in Romania

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Easter in Romania is celebrated according to the rituals of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Easter entire season consists of Flowers Saturday (Lazarusí Saturday), Palm Day (Flowers Day), Great Thursday, Great Friday, Easter, The Small Fountain and Good Peopleís Easter. Each of these has small interesting rituals. The Easter celebration goes on for a long week and finally wraps with Good Peopleís Easter celebrated in honor of the ancient spirits.

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The Friday before the Easter is called the Great Friday or the Friday of sufferings, as it is the day when Jesus was crucified. On Saturday, people go to church for the midnight mass, taking with them a bowl of Pasca, eggs and steak, where these aliments are blessed by the clergy. On returning home from the mass, people first eat some of the sanctified aliments and only then the rest.

Starting with Holy Thursday, people start painting eggs in a multitude of colors. The predominant color is red, but other colors are also applied - yellow, green, blue and even black. Decorated eggs or 'oua incondeiate' are an integral part of Easter celebration in Romania. The eggs are decorated using a type of thin and round sticks called chisita, made of beech wood.

The special Easter cake, known as Pasca, is baked on Great Thursday. The Pasca can have a round shape (reminding little Jesus' diapers) or a rectangular one (the shape of his grave). The shells of the eggs used for the Pasca are thrown in a river. This action stems from the ancient belief that the shells are taken by the river to the country of the Good People, announcing them the Easter has came.

In some regions (Bucovina, Transylvania), there is a tradition called "the wetting". On Monday morning, the boys take a bucket of water and go to the houses of the unmarried girls. If they found them sleeping, the boys throw water on them. As it is believed that those girls will marry soon, they reward the boys who had wetted them by giving them the most beautiful decorated eggs and Pasca or cake.