The Bear, the Goat, the Bunghiers, the Caiutii, the Malanca, the Jiens and the Masked are expected to show up on New Year’s Eve.
All of these stand for an original way of expressing the ritual associations of animals with almost universal worshiping of the Sun. The ceremonial structure of the custom is equally full of strength and vitality.
The music and dance, both remarkable through their virtuosity and dynamism, the highly expressive masks, they all make up a unique spectacle. It is the masks that tell the most about the imagination and humor of the Romanian villager. Some of them have become genuine jewels of folk art.
An old tradition is that the year that is just beginning will be sunny and with rich harvests for the families that will leave the lamp alit on the New Year’s night until the dawn.
Also on the New Year’s morning, some traditional families toss money into the water where they wash their hands, counting on the fact that this will bring them money during the entire following year.
Elderly people claim that their parents and grand-parents would put silver or even gold coins in the water when such coins were in use. Almost at the midnight of the 31st of December, the peasants foresee the weather in the following year, using large onion peels which the peel off and order by the months of the year.
They put some salt on each of them. On the 1st of January, on St. Vasile’s Day, the one able to undo witchcraft and spells shall check the level of the liquid left by the melted salt in each of the onions peels. This is how they will know if there is going to be rain or draught.
Also on New Year’s Eve, another custom is the Vergel which is a mysterious act meant to prospect the future, in which unmarried young people and their parents take part. The one practicing the Vergel want to know what the future year holds for them, and most of all if and whom they will marry.