Traditions and customs are very much kept alive in
Transylvania. This especially in regions where people
live close to nature as in the Apuseni Mountains. Old
rites survived for centuries. Even a lot of pagan rites
did survive. Some were transformed in or adopted as
Christian rites. Some of these customs became a local
festival, some are limited to the family or a group of
people. Some are just part of daily life.
Some of these customs should improve health and
prosperity, others are to keep demons wild animals and
Symbols as the sun, the rope, grapes or wine leaves
are used in sculptures,...
What can be seen:
Buru: 23 April
On 23 April there is a
very strange and very old pagan celebration in Buru. The
celebration of “Babaluda” . It’s a
fertility (and the beginning of spring)
celebration on the day of the Saint Gheorghe . What
exactly happens: 6 young man (young men that didn’t do
their military service) from the village are
wearing masks or are dressed in a special way.
(between these 6 persons they choose for a couple:
Babaluda and his wife -so 1 man is dressed as a
female-). Babaluda and his wife are completely covered
or better dressed with the bark of a cherry tree and
leaves and branches of the birch tree.
The other 4: 2 are dressed
as soldiers and and protect Babaluda and his wife.
Babaluda and his wife are
bringing luck and fertility, so everybody from the
village wants to touch them. But getting luck
shouldn’t be be so easy so the 2 soldiers are trying
to avoid this. So people pay to touch Babaluda ...
The remaining 2 are
completely dressed in black (also painted in the face
and hands) and make everybody black in the village.
This black paint or color makes that the bad ghosts
are leaving the body or mind of the people from the
village. At the end
of the day about everybody is black in the village.
During the day all the
young girls of the village are thrown in the river by
Babaluda and his wife (and with help of the rest of
the village). This rite means a kind of purification
and fertility at the beginning of the year.
This whole thing is now
unique and must be very old. 20 years ago this rite
was still practiced in more then 70 villages in the
Rusalia: (50 days after eastern)
Cetatea Veche (Huedin)
Every spring the
farm animals are blessed by the priest. Rusali and
Sanziene are known in the folk spirit as very nice
girls but with negative power. They especially
disturbed young adolescents. Rusali also were
responsible for diseases and death of animals.
Therefore the animals were blessed by the
priest. At mixed farms,
cattle, pigs and horses are blessed at the farm. For
the shepherds this is different. They come together at
a sacred place somewhere in the mountains and the
priest is blessing the flocks. It is an impressive
spectacle when shepherds from all over the place come
with their thousands of sheep.
Sanziene (24 June)
Sanziene (and Rusali) were in the past
a kind of 'elf' a kind of witches (very nice witches).
They had negative power and made young adolescents
crazy. To protect themselves, the people made crowns
from sanziene and throw them on the roof of the house.
If the crown remained on the roof, it meant that the
house was protected for a year, if the crown came down
again, it meant that somebody of that house would die
within a year. (see also under Maramures)
What can we offer:
We can offer you a guided trip during these
festivals. We can bring you around in the
region, let you participate or let you attend
these celebrations or rites. They could be
combined with a hiking trip or other trip or a
stay at our holiday houses.
is a movie about the Apuseni Mountains:
included a special page about the Apuseni Mountains: