A Very Happy New Year!!

There are numerous traditions in Romania, but we can only uncover or read about them in books, not in our daily lives.

One of the most interesting traditions is the fight in Ruginoasa, a village in the county of Iasi.
On the 31st of December, usually at the crack of dawn, two groups of men armed with very long clubs start fighting, or better said, hitting at one another rather viciously. After the fight, the men go to the local pub to celebrate. The two parties fight because one party represents the people downhill and the other the people uphill, and also because this has been their tradition for as long as they can remember.

In the olden days, the villagers used mostly whips and harmless weapons, because this was more like a symbolic battle, the battle between the Old Year and the New Year. They also made noises in order to scare away the old year. People used to wear animal furs and very beautiful costumes.
Unfortunately, nowadays this fight has become rather violent due to the loss of the old tradition of an allegorical fight and the appearance of the new tradition of a real life battle. That is why it was cancelled by the authorities in the last few years.

The Anglo-Saxon tradition that I love is the First Footing. On the 31st of December, after midnight, young men start wandering from house to house. The tradition says that you will have a very good year if the first man to enter your house, or the first foot, is a tall, dark man. The first foot has the right to kiss the girl who answers the door. For the sake of a good prank, a crone ( old, ugly woman) is sometimes sent to welcome the first-footers and expect a kiss at the door.

A Very Happy New Year to all!

Written in 2013.

Art – Sergey Sviridov. Source: Facebook

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