Dragobete, the local Valentine’s Day

Photo source: stirilekanald.ro

Romanians are huge fans of parties and celebrations, especially if we are to talk about love. Therefore February is a continuous spree for lovers all over the country and somehow prepares the stage for….yep, other celebrations, the ones related to Martisor (1st of March) and Mother’s Day (March 8th). The fuss starts on February 14 with the international and more commercial Valentine’s Day and continues on February 24 with the traditional way of celebrating romance, Dragobete. Do we have to say that the Romanian men are thrilled about all this, including the shopping and planning? 😛

Why ‘Dragobete’? The legend has it that Dragobete was the son of Baba Dochia, a famous character in the Romanian mythology associated to the end of the cold winter and spring arrival. It is said that because of his endless kindness he was chosen by Virgin Mary to become the Guardian of Love. Often associated with Roman mythology’s Cupid and Greek mythology’s Eros, Dragobete is our local symbol of love and joyousness.

The Dragobete related customs vary from region to region, but all the celebrations are connected with the renewal of nature and blossoming love. Traditionally it is celebrated by the young girls and boys picking flowers for the one they are courting (especially snowdrops or other spring flowers), singing and honoring spring, love, and life. It may involve for the boys to run after the girls they are into and some smoochy kiss, and that’s exactly why we have the saying of ‘Dragobetele kisses the girls’ (Ro: Dragobetele saruta fetele).

These being said, it’s obvious that February and March make for an interesting trip to Romania in terms of experiencing both the new and the traditional customs in the authentic Romanian way.

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