Traditions and superstitions for New Year’s Eve

“Revelion” is the modern and current name that New Year’s Eve has in Romanian and the term is rooted in the French language- “reveillon”, where it means vigil. Until the year 153 BC, The New Year was held on the 1stof March, and it was a celebration of the death of the old year and the birth of a new one.

In our days, the New Year is celebrated on the night of 31stof December to 1stof January with lots of pomp and good fun, parties and plentiful tables. The passage between the two years is tied to a lot of traditions and superstitions in the Romanian culture, some of which date to our ancestors’ time, and some of which have lost its meaning.

New Year’s Traditions

-Going around with “Plugusorul” , “Sorcova” and other games with masks- these are ancient customs that are practiced on New Year’s Eve and in the morning of 1stJanuary.

-“Plugusorul” represents the synthesis of an agriculture treaty, as it is an agricultural carol whose verses speak of agriculture practices, hopes of Earth’s fertility and wishes for a rich harvest. Children who go from house to house on New Year’s Eve recite “Plugusorul” and in return, they are rewarded with nuts, fruits, ring biscuits and money.

-“Sorcova” or “Semanatul” is practiced in the morning of the New Year. Children are welcomed in the homes of people, where they throw grains of wheat and barley and recite verses, which differ from region to region. : “Sorcova, vesela/ Sa traiti, sa-mbatraniti/ Ca un mar, ca un par, ca un fir de trandafir/ Tare ca piatra, iute ca sageata/ Tare ca fierul, iute ca otelul/ La anul si la multi ani”.

-Mask games- capra (the goat), ursul (the bear), cerbul (the deer)- are practiced in our days for amusement purposes only and have lots the initial meanings like bringing fertility to the earth, embodiment of justice, protecting one’s household of the evil spirits.

-Another custom highly practiced in the Romanian culture is the presence of mistletoe in the house as a sacred plant and a symbol of the winter holidays. Mistletoe has the role of bringing luck and growth in the house and to protect people from diseases. Also, those who kiss under the mistletoe on New Year’s eve will be in love all year.

-On New Year’s Eve, on the festive table there must be 12 courses of culinary dishes, representing the 12 months of the year and their abundance.

New Year’s Superstitions

-It’s good luck to eat fish on New Year’s Eve, because fish symbolizes prosperity. On the other hand, it’s bad luck to eat poultry, because as poultry grubs the dirt and scatters it around, it will scatter the luck out of the house.

-It’s good to eat apples and 12 grapes at midnight, thus ensuring health and prosperity year round.

-They say the wishes you make at midnight will come true.

-They say it’s good luck that the first person to walk into your home on the first day of the New Year be a man, so as to bring affluence to the household.

-Also, to ensure affluence in the New Year, wear new clothes on the threshold of the two years and carry money on you.

-It’s bad luck to borrow money or enter the New Year with debts, because you will be facing financial problems all year long.

-The New Year must be received with lots of joy, noise and good fun to cast away the bad spirits and to have a year filled with fulfillments.

-On the first day of the New Year, nothing is to be thrown out from the house, so as to not throw your luck away.

-We wish you a Happy New Year! La multi ani!

Un An Nou fericit va dorim! La multi ani!

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