December


The month of winter holidays. The cold and the snow are everywhere.  Although the stinging cold and the slippery ice are against them, everyone is preparing with presents for the upcoming holidays this month. The name of the month comes from the Latin tenth which means 10, December being the tenth month of the old Roman calendar. In Romania this month is also called Andrea”  or Undrea  because the frost is very sharp as is the word “andrea” (knitting needle). The 21st winter solstice brings us the shortest day of the year. On the 25th, the Christmas holidays bring joy to everyone because December is the month of the holidays. And so another year has passed.

At the beginning of the month on the 6th is the feast of Saint Nicholas which in the popular tradition is known as the Christmas of the children because they receive small gifts that are usually sweets and fruit. Saint Nicholas was a bishop and is regarded as the protector or sailors, merchants, children, unmarried people and students. He is helping those that are destitute.

Another story is related to the winter solstice when the sun was lowering the intensity of the people in the vehicles trying to make offerings to strengthen the power of the sun and thus appeared the feast of “Ignat” on 20 or 21. “Ignis” means fire. There are many superstitions about “Ignat”. It is said that for “Ignat” the merciful people should not go out because they will become crazy. It is also said that the children should use some blood of the pig  to wash their face in order to gain strength and good health. The unmarried girls can now make a spell with the pig’s blood to see their destined one. A very good cold medicine is made from pork mixed with cornmeal. A cake is baked and after cooling it is eaten. The powder is taken with a teaspoon for cold or rubella measles. A very old custom is the pork feast. After the sacrifice people eat and thus the sun will gain more power.  It is generally recommended that girls do not drink water and in the evening to eat fish and as a result that night they will see in their dream their destined one. The custom to ornate the fir tree is also a form of celebrating the nature. Before Christmas there are well-known habits in the country (caroling with the star or the goat) for abundance and wealth.

And of course, on the 25th we celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to talk to us about God and both himself and through his Apostles sent in all the world he set the basis of new customs and rituals that form the Orthodox religion.