Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Back to Caroling (Christmas in Maramures)

Nativity quilt :: All Pretty Things
Yesterday, as much as she liked both my wooden bracelets and my eggnog, Monique was not happy with me interrupting her caroling program :)

I am not sure if I should continue with the Byzantine-like old Romanian carols - we've had an interesting conversation on how both the language (which is Romanic, we are "Romanian" after all!) and the music style reminded her of the Latin liturgic music (which is quite normal, again, we are Orthodox, but we've borrowed a lot from Catholics).

I found this wonderful video:

While the music is not as beautiful as in other carols, it shows the customs in the country, customs I grew up with. We didn't get dressed in the popular attire, as I grew up in a small city, but people in that part of the country (north-west) still do on a daily basis. On Christmas Eve we would go caroling through the city: to teachers, friends, and complete unknown people (well, someone in our group would know them, it was a small city where everyone would literally know everybody else). They will invite us in the house and offer us sweet bread, apples, nuts, and pretzels. By the end of the evening we'd be so well fed it was hard to move anymore :)

You see the farmer's wife making the bread in an old oven - they still use it in parts of the country. And that bread is the yummiest bread you've ever tasted! There is also the tradition to make a cross over the bread before cutting it - and you see her doing that (in some places is still the head of the house, the husband who is cutting the bread).

I understand from friends back there that slowly this style of life is disappearing - which makes me sad, it definitely had a charm and a special link to ancestry, there are pre-Christianity traditions still alive there... which will be slowly dying.

More reason to cherish a video like this :)

I hope you enjoy our journey through old traditions from Eastern Europe.


  1. *Sigh* I may have been born in the wrong century, Alicia. ;) When one made the "daily bread", it was real food, not the sad tasteless sponge that can be bought in our stores. We are trading many of the real truths of life for a pale imitation.

    I am jealous of the door-to-door caroling, too!

    As I was drifting off to sleep last night I was trying to remember the old French melodies my mother used to sing (she sang to herself a lot and I inherited that LOL). I doubt my adult sons would recognize much of the traditional music of my ancestors. It is a sad truth that we don't know what we have lost til it is gone (long live Youtube). You may inspire me to post some French carols, if they don't make me too teary-eyed :)

  2. And the quilt is lovely... do you know where it was displayed or who made it?

  3. Ah traditions are fast fading no matter where you live. I can remember as a young girl going house to house caroling and with the Girl Scouts going to the old folks homes and caroling. There is just not a whole lot of caroling these days, because people are afraid to get out and walk and sing in their neighborhoods these days. My Mom still makes home made bread this time of the year as a matter of fact the house was smelling so good with fresh baked bread yesterday when I came home from work it had my mouth watering for a slice. Even though I could not understand a single word of what was being said I still enjoyed the music, thank you for sharing.


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