Christ’s return to life brings unique customs and traditions

The feast of Easter brings nice customs and traditions kept in Moldova since the oldest times. The painting of eggs, the bringing of light home from the church and the Romanian round dance on Sunday are among the customs that the Moldovan villages still observe.

Contacted by IPN, Doctor of Ethnology Tudor Colac, managing scientific researcher at the Institute of Philology of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, said that today’s customs and traditions are a combination of several layers: archaic pre-Christian, pagan, and contemporary Christian. One of these customs derives from the cult of virgin water in the whole Balkan area. Virgin water has several connotations and is named holy water in some of the settlements.

Virgin water is the symbol of rich harvests

“In old times, the virgin water was brought by a virgin girl, about which nothing bad was said in the village, from a spring or newly-dug well or from the well situated in the yard of a church. The water is blessed in the church. On the way home, the people go to splash the graves with this water. Afterward, they splash the cows and the house around three times so as to drive the evil spirits away,” said Tudor Colac.

The tradition of virgin water is kept on both banks of the Nistru. On Easter morning, they pour water in a plate, put red eggs, a silver coin or cross and basil there and wash the face with the aim of driving disease away.

Color of eggs is red, but not necessarily

As to the tradition of Easter eggs, Tudor Colac said that at the beginning they were only red and the color was obtained from leaves and plant roots. “The Moldovan women were very talented from old times and managed to extract different red nuances from plants. The red color prevails, but the yellow and brown are also popular. We now can meet eggs of different colors. At the beginning they painted only hen eggs, but then started to paint duck and goose eggs,” stated Tudor Colac.

The Moldovan area is well-known all over the world for the special Easter egg painting technique. For the tourists who visit these areas, the paining of eggs is an element of handicraft and the painted eggs are regarded as decorations for the interior. “In fact, the egg must be painted raw, not boiled. An egg painted in northern Moldova costs over 300 lei. There the eggs are emptied and kept in collections as objects of art,” said the ethnologist.

As regards the Easter meal, Tudor Colac said that the family head is the first who knocks a red egg against another. The shells are not thrown away. The egg is cut into slices, which are shared among the family members with wishes of good health. They also eat Easter bread and say: “Christ is risen”. And the answer is “He is risen indeed”. “Visiting the parents and other relatives is another Easter tradition. In some parts of Moldova they go singing songs about the revival of Christ and the people give the singers Easter bread and eggs,” said the doctor in ethnography.

Some Easter traditions disappear and are interpreted mistakenly

On Easter Day the people put on new clothes. In the Moldovan villages they go to take part in Romanian round dances staged in the center of the settlement. “Unfortunately, such customs as the stealing of a wooden panel called ‘toaca’ disappears. The unmarried men used to do such a panel and beat it all night to announce the return to life of Jesus Christ and to drive evil spirits away. One could get it back in exchange for many red eggs. This customs is typical mainly of areas situated near monasteries,” said Tudor Colac.

He also said that the message of the virgin water is not always treated correctly, while its use was reduced to the washing of the face. The painting of Easter eggs is restrained. They now stick all kind of pictures on them. This is a kitsch that cannot be compared with the egg painting art.

Easter is the feast of feasts for the Orthodox Christians. The week after Easter until Low Sunday is called the Bright Week and it must be observed in high moods. The candle we take home from the church must be kept during a year and is lit when it is raining heavily, with hail, thunder and lighting

Вы используете модуль ADS Blocker .
IPN поддерживается от рекламы.
Поддержи свободную прессу!
Некоторые функции могут быть заблокированы, отключите модуль ADS Blocker .
Спасибо за понимание!
Команда IPN.