In Romania, and in all cultures around the world, weddings are regarded as the most important family tradition. The ancient customs are interesting, so in today’s Romanian weddings, many of these rituals are still followed and incorporated in the modern wedding celebrations. If the wedding takes place in the countryside, however, you can find that the traditions that are centuries old are very much alive.
The rituals performed in Romanian weddings are supposed to bring about prosperity, happiness, fertility, productivity, and social integration to the couple. Performance of these rituals may vary from one region to the next, however, there is one common element; and that is the popular and symbolic costumes that the bride and the groom should wear on their wedding day.
The Wedding Attire
In Romanian weddings, the manner of dressing is an important consideration because the young couple would like to respect and follow the old customs. The bride will wear a shirt and skirt, both in white, and she has a white apron over them. She will also put on a sleeveless woolen coat and a red belt on her waist. The groom’s attire is a simple white shirt made of hemp, the traditional large pants, and over them is a sleeveless coat too. Weddings that have a touch of a Western style will see brides wearing a white Western gown.
The Wedding Ceremony
In most regions, weddings consist of many symbolic values and some activities need to be performed to show respect to the ancient traditions. Overall, it will be a simple ceremony. The first stage of the wedding is the proposal done by a trustworthy person belonging to the groom’s family. He will visit the girl and make the proposal, which is not replied to until after the third proposal. After this, the person who did the proposal and the girl’s parents will talk and make plans for the festivities that will follow.
When the groom picks the girl up to bring to his parent’s home, he will be accompanied by several people including his godfather and a person who is holding a flag. When the girl has arrived at the groom’s home her future mother in law will wash her face and the groom’s face as well. This is to show that the bride is accepted by the groom’s family.
It should be noted that Romanian weddings do not have witnesses. The bride and groom will just choose a married couple (or about to get married), who is close to both of them. They will become the advisers of the newlyweds and will be prominent figures during the ceremony as well as at the reception where they will be seated with the new couple.
At the church, the priests will conduct a specific ceremony. Some verses will be read from the Bible, to serve as advice to the 2 people who are marrying each other.
A part of the ceremony is the ritual called “forgiving moments” when the bride and groom ask for forgiveness from their parents for the things that they each did wrong in the past.
Usually, two parties are held in Romanian weddings – one held at the home of the groom and another at the home of the bride. The newlyweds need to attend both these parties, so the guests will be kept happy. So, no honeymoon will take place immediately after the first party.
There are no presents given to the Romanian couple during the party. Instead of a boxed gifts, guests give cash to the groom and bride at the party venue.
Another tradition that is still performed today is that some time during the party, the bride will get “kidnapped” by some friends and will be kept away from the reception for about 1 or 2 hours. She will be brought back only after payment has been done by their adviser. Some couples try to avoid this, though, because they prefer the continuity of the reception. In some places, the bride’s shoes are stolen, instead of the bride herself.
As in other weddings, there will be lots of food, drinking, singing and dancing at the wedding party that can last until dawn. Some of the dishes that are served at the party include pork, chicken liver in sauce, mozzarella rolled chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes and cream potatoes. When the party nears its end, the bride should hold in her arms a child, believed to symbolize her having many children. When the couple goes to their new home, they will be showered with grain so they will have a life ahead that is very prosperous.