Romanian traditions – wedding & baptism

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We are well aware that many of our local traditions may look a bit weird to any foreigner visiting Romania. Most of them look bizarre to us too. But we got used to them…If you don’t know what to expect from a Romanian wedding or baptism, we are trying our best to highlight the main events, and give you a clue about our local traditions.

Romanian wedding customs

The most important thing to know when you receive an invitation to a Romanian wedding is to have a thorough look at its schedule. In most of Romania’s regions, the wedding ceremony takes place first in the church (mainly in the morning or early afternoon), then in a restaurant or event hall. Many cities from our central and west part of the country are hosting the wedding during the day time, so you’ll probably get back to your hotel room around midnight, the latest. On the other hand, in Bucharest and many other cities, the celebration takes place in the evening and ends in the morning. Yes, you’d better prepare to enjoy the wedding cake at around 4 in the morning.

Depending on the grooms’ roots, there may be a lot of traditions involved. The ones that apply on almost every wedding are related to grooms’ preparations – pre wedding “groom”-ing. The bride usually gets the final retouches from her maid of honor team, while the groom gets symbolical ‘shaved’ by his best men. Both rituals are fun and moving, so don’t skip them.

The emotional church ceremony is often followed by a photo session for the grooms, while the other guests are preparing for the long party. We suggest taking a good nap to cope with all the dancing, as the most beloved & popular wedding dance is the strenuous ‘hora’ – a type of circle dance originating in the Balkans.

One of our most popular wedding related tradition is kidnapping the bride. The kidnappers are usually the bride’s closest friends and they must negotiate the ransom with the groom or godfather, depending on the time of her kidnap (before or after midnight). When the ransom is paid – bottles of fine drink, items that groom will hardly purchase, singing songs or making love statements – the bride returns to the party.

The Romanian baptism & baby’s first haircut ceremony

The Romanian baptism party sure does look a lot like the long wedding parties. Obviously, the church ceremony is different, as the kid’s godfathers play the most important part. For most of the ceremony, the Godfathers hold the baby – usually the Godmother if it’s a baby boy, or the Godfather if it’s a baby girl. The Godfathers are also being responsible for holding the super cute candles (you have to really see them to better understand what we are talking about).

The church ceremony ends after the baby gets to bath in the holy water, marking the Christening as complete. The baptism party is just like most of our big parties – expect to have at least 5 courses (yep, not kidding). There will also be a lot of alcohol involved, therefore a lot of dancing. Always connected.

A super cute tradition will take place around midnight. That’s when the Fairy Godmothers (in Romanian called ‘Ursitoare’) will decide the baby’s fate, by wishing him a prosperous and happy life.

On baby’s first haircut ceremony, family & friends gather to cut a short hair strand that will be well kept by the parents to remember the 1-year-old ceremony. The most awaited moment is when the baby has to choose from a special tray with all sorts of objects placed in front of him. Usually, the baby’s parents and Godfathers will place objects that are saying to reflect his future – money, car keys, pen, jewelry, etc. Whatever the baby chooses, that’s what will show up in the baby’s life.

After that, guess what. Another big Romanian party with tons of food, alcohol, and a few ‘hora-s’ takes place. You wouldn’t have expected that…

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To better cope with a Romanian meal and better understand Romanians’ (better said Bucharestians’) behavior, we recommend you our Romanian customs and local traditions article.

You may also be interested in Romanian Easter & Christmas Traditions.

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