The identity and spirituality of Transylvania are influenced by the traditions of the minorities living in this region, so there are various traditions with unique meanings. Transylvania has a mix of traditions and customs meant to bring luck, health and prosperity.
Romania is a country full of beautiful traditions, customs, and superstitions. Whether they are real or simply invented, the Romanian traditions are fascinating and worthy to be mentioned:
Strigoi / Vampires – Transylvania is often considered the land of Dracula and of bloodthirsty vampires, who sleep during the day and go out at night to drink the blood of their victims. But in Romanian folklore, vampires did not exist before Bram Stoker’s novel. They were not called vampires, but strigoi. Strigoi are evil souls who rise from the graves during the night and haunt the villages. Strigoi were usually believed to be the souls of the people who have suffered a violent death. They are thought to be afraid of the smell of garlic and incense. In the villages that are supposed to be haunted by strigoi, the locals adorn their doors and windows with garlic.
Martisorul. This is by far one of the most beautiful customs in Transylvania. After wearing “martisorul” on your chest for an entire month, on April 1st you should tie it on the branch of a tree. The tradition says that, if you do so, you’ll have a prosperous year. It’s really nice seeing all those trees covered in martisoare during the first days of April. You definitely don’t want to miss the view!
Sanzienele, celebrated on June 24th, is a religious holiday of pagan origins. Sanzienele are fairies full of grace, which protect nature. They are represented by yellow flowers that bloom around this date.
Ielele, charming fairies appearing in forests, or on lonely rocks or meadows. They mostly appear at night by moonlight, dancing the Romanian dance of Hora. They are often considered evil, enchanting young men with their voices and abducting them or casting magical spells upon the ones who refuse their invitation to dance.
Deochiul is one of the most well-known superstitions in Romania, which says that a person can mentally or spiritually harm another person, especially young children or women who have just become mothers, with a single glance of admiration or envy.
Ursitoarele are three fairies meant to shape the destiny of any newborn, from the first days of life. Tradition says that they will visit the child in the first week of life on uneven days.
Babele, symbolized by Baba Dochia, are nothing more than the representation of the last battle between winter and spring. Legend has it that Baba Dochia set off in search of spring, dressed in 9 coats, taking them off one by one on the way due to the rising temperature. It reaches the top of the mountain where it freezes, due to the unfavorable weather.
Dragobetele – is the celebration of love and the cyclical renewal of the world. It is celebrated on February 24.