Orthodox Easter is a celebration in
Romania; a religious holiday as well as a
symbol of spring. At midnight, Romanians
gather at churches big and small across the
country as Holy Saturday becomes Easter,
lighting candles during the Service that they
then carry home to bless their families for
the upcoming year. In cities and towns, this
custom produces a fantastic view of candles
held aloft on the streets as churchgoers
head home in the early morning hours.
In 2009 the Romanian Orthodox Easter
Sunday is on 19 April.
The Easter is the most important
celebration of the Romanian people and it is
preceded by numerous preparations and rituals.
April 11: Flowers Saturday (Lazarus’Saturday)
April 12: Palm Day (Flowers Day)
April 16: Great Thursday
April 17: Great Friday
April 19: Easter
April 24: The Small Fountain
April 25: Good People’s Easter
Lazarus, the character whose name was
given to this day can have various
meanings. He is thought to be either the
brother of Martha and Mary, who was
resurrected by Jesus, prior to His
entrance in Jerusalem, either Lazarus
the poor, either “Lazarica” (a
Romanian diminutive of Lazarus), who
died craving for pies.
A week before the Easter,
the Flowers Day (Romanian:
“Florii) is celebrated. This was
initially dedicated to the Roman
goddess Flora, but then it was
celebrated in the memory of the
Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem.
This day is the celebration of
the nature revival, when the
willows, the fruit trees and the
flowers bloom. The willow
plays a very important role in
The Thursday before the Easter is
called “the Great Thursday”, “the
Thursday of sufferings” or “the black
Girls and women must finish sewing
the new blouses for the Easter until this
day. Otherwise they will be punished by
Joimarita, a mythical woman who beats
or burns them. She is believed to take
the laziest girls at her home and eat
them. Another (not so cruel) version
goes that Joimarita spells those girls,
so that they wouldn’t be able to work all
The Friday before the Easter is called
the Great Friday. Also named “the Friday
of sufferings”, it is the day when Jesus was
crucified. People don’t eat on this day, as it
is believed that doing that they will be
healthy and they will know they’ll dye three
The tradition recommends that you step on
a piece of iron when you wake up, in order
to be protected from bruises. If you bathe
in the river before the sun rises, you won’t
suffer from bone illness. In Bucovina it is
said that who bathes three times in a cold
river will be healthy all year long.
People go to church to confess.
It’s a must for the people to have a clean house and have all the ritual foods
ready. This is why the cleaning starts on Great Thursday. Men, who are usually
working in the field or at the forest, will remain home starting with this day and
will take out the thrash, fix the fence, cut wood, bring water, butcher the lambs.
Cristos a inviat ! Adevarat a inviat !
Christ is risen! Yes, He is risen indeed.
Hand-coloring eggs with intricate designs and religious motifs, using wax-
based paints, remains a popular Easter tradition in certain countryside
regions across Romania. In the past, only natural colors and plant
pigments were used: red onion to obtain the color red, apple tree bark for
yellow, mint for green, etc. In the late 19th century chemical colors started
to be preferred due to increased efficiency.
The Small Fountain
In some regions, on the Friday before the
Easter week, water springs are searched for,
wells are built and cleaned. All these are done
as it is believed that those springs and fountain
will have plenty of water and won’t dry.
The Good People’s Easter (Dead People’s Monday)
The Good People’s Easter is celebrated a week after the
Easter, on Monday, right after Thomas’ Sunday.
In the Romanian tradition, the Good People are the
ancient’s spirits, which live between the two worlds,
where Saturday’s water spills into the Earth. The Good
People are religious people and fast each time they
should, according to the traditions. However they are not
aware of the day when Easter is celebrated until they see
remains of the painted eggs on the water, about eight