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Midsummer Customs

24 June 2021, 10:00 - 16:00

ASTRA Open air museum, the homestead from Rășinari

Young people from Rășinari will present Midsummer customs that are specific to their village, as they have inherited them from their ancestors.

I went, I went in the clearing

To pick goldenrod flowers.

I searched for them, I picked them,

And made crowns out of them.

I threw them on the house

And found my luck.

As is the case with every important feast in the folk realm, the Birth of John the Baptist is celebrated together with folk beliefs related to nature, which have a protecting purpose. In Rășinari, the symbolic gestures used to start early in the morning and continued until evening: girls used to wash themselves with dew from goldenrods in order to be healthier and more beautiful. It was also on dew that they picked goldenrod flowers and made a crown for each family member, which they threw on the roofs.

In remembrance of the prophetic mission of John the Baptist, from the moment the bells tolled for Vespers and up until late at night, there was a water fight that would not cease on the village's streets, in which children and youngsters would gladly engage. They were grouped according to friendships around fountains or simply on the streets and they would take passers-by by surprise.  

According to Romanian legends, the Sânzâiene are good fairies, daughters of kings, kidnapped by zmei, who became forest and field goddesses and who wander the fields at night, making them more fruitful.  Their phytomorph correspondents are the golderon flowers (also called sânzâiene in Romanian), which bloom during the summer solstice.

Goldenrods are also important as medicinal herbs. The flowers used to be picked at the dawn of the feast day, while their stems, roots and seeds were collected in the autumn and kept together with garlic strings under the eaves, to be used as remedies for several diseases, but also having a protective role against evil spirits.

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