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Christmas in Romania

Mihail Pandrea Student Life

Another year, another chapter to be written in my life. Mihail Pandrea, Braila, Romania, studying Architecture at Northumbria University.

Taking a quick retrospective at 2015 I must say that it was the peak of my decision-taking skills, choosing to move to England, where I found my second home. New city, new life, new friends, new atmosphere, new things to learn, Newcastle upon Tyne. For me, synonym to the year that just past was NEW.

My first semester kick-started with few projects, making me find out that being an architecture student requires a continuous flow of creativity and hard work. Later, I found out that the first projects were nothing but a quick warm-up for the ones to follow, bigger and bolder ones. Beginning with a quick urban sketch, followed by few serial visions inspired by the urbanistic beauty of  Newcastle, and ending the semester with a massive project, that used our imagination at most, requiring to build a house after resuming our lecture of Italo Calvino’s invisible cities to only three words to get inspired by.

I will not lie about counting the days to holiday, because even if I got used to the new stage of my life, I missed them from the first day I left, we all do, and last but not least, I can not imagine winter holidays without my family.

I have reasons to state that holidays strictly relate to family. At least that is how it is in Romania. A country bursting with tradition, on each and every level, but during this time of the year, it seems like everything tastes, sounds, looks, smells and feels better.

Gastronomical Tradition:

One reason for you to visit Romania, is food. Trust me! We usually have traditional menus that we can eat each and every day such as “ciorba” which is a kind of a sour soup made of a variety of ingredients. We have “ciorba de burta”-beef belly soup, “ciorba de oase” – pork/beef bones soup, “ciorba de perisoare” – meatballs soup, and so on. Further on, we eat a lot of meat traditional specialities, but the most known ones are:

  • Caltabos – a sausage made of pork chitterlings, rice and spices.
  • Toba – a mix of minced pork liver, kidney, tongue and meat pressed and covered in a pork stomach
  • Leber – Romanian version of “foie gras”
  • Carnati – Saussages made with a specific amount of fat and a special/traditional mix of spices
  • Sarmale – minced meat rolled in matured cabbage leafs and cooked in ceramic vase
  • Salata Beuf – salad made of minced vegetables and pickes with meat and dressed with home made mayonnaise
  • Racitura – pork/chichen/turkey jelly

When talking about desert we do also have some traditional cookies called “cornulete” and a very traditional sweetbread filled with cocoa cream, nuts and Turkish delight, which is called “cozonac”. But the main tradition regarding sweets is in the New Year’s Eve when we eat cheese pie in which we spread some little letters with predictions for the New Year and we call it “placinta cu ravas”.

Carolling tradition:

Carolling tradition in Romania is ancient, having its origins from the early times of Dacia (Tracia). Even if a specific date can not be stated regarding the apparition of carols, the poetic content of carols point to the fact that hey come from the deepest Christian and Romanian history times, more exactly from the 1st century, in the times when St. Andrew was spreading the Gospel lessons in south eastern are of what we call today Romania.

The carols represents the popular and artistic echo of church liturgies.

Every single child in Romania goes carolling all the members of their families and then go trough their shire or city to spread the Christmas Christian message, to other families and friends.

Me and my brother were respecting the tradition since the age we could first sing, and we still do as this year we went singing and carolling to everyone we thought about.

New Year’s Eve Traditions:

Last but not least, we also have few New Year’s Eve traditions such as always having money in your pocket in this day, so the new year will not catch you without, or, for example, in Romania, we always eat fish on this specific night because tradition says that you will act in the new year exactly like what you it in the first hour of the year. Fish swims always forward and it is very agile, also, it is a symbol of Christianity. Last but not least, kiss your soulmate at midnight so the year that comes will carry you together to the next year’s eve.

Thanks for reading!

May you all have a good and happy New Year!


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