The culture of each nation is strongly influenced by its specific traditional customs. The beauty, originality and richness of our traditions are often a combination between farming reality and sacred forms. New Year customs bring another proof that Romanians are committed, faithful, optimistic and full of creativity.
Holidays often gather expressions from bygone times which unite the pre-Christian and Christian practices.
The list of Romanian traditions and customs includes in addition to carols, games with masks, processions, folk theatre and dances specific to the end of the year. Of all these, Romfilatelia presents within the philatelic issue New Year Customs, four postage stamps that render some of the traditions of the end of the year, essences of our spiritual wealth.
The issue is available starting with Wednesday, December 21st, 2016, in all Romfilatelia shops from Bucharest, Bacau, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi and Timisoara and thus joins other philatelic projects that promote the richness and specificity of the Romanian folk culture and civilization.
On the stamp with the face value of lei 2.20, is represented Plugusorul (literal translation – little plow), a Romanian custom practiced since ancient times on New Year’s Day. This agrarian tradition, which is originally a sacred ritual manifestation of the wishes to have rich harvests, has to do with the work to obtain bread. Children are the first to start plugusorul and begin to walk among the houses, receiving in exchange for their wishes of a good year, knot-shaped breads, fruit or money.
Riding with the “buhai” (a special drum caused to boom by pulling on a tuft of hair attached to it) is a tradition kept for centuries in Romanian villages and is presented on the stamp with the face value of lei 2.50. The buhai custom is practiced on New Year’s Eve, between dusk and midnight. The groups of well-wishers wear traditional costumes adorned with hats, whips and bells, being fondly received by the hosts, who reward them with apples, nuts, pretzels and knot-shaped breads. Another ancient custom that takes place in the New Year’s evening is the Bear dance, represented on the stamp with the face value of lei 8. By this custom we witness a popular dance with masks with an omen characteristic, consisting of disguised well-wishers. Symbolically, the bear is an animal revered since ancient times and in Romanian folklore, it was empowered with various protective, therapeutic and weather changing abilities. The Bear dance is the bringer of fertility and the sounds of the whistle, drums and bells will result in raising the heat from the earth and so the soil will be more productive. The Goat Dance, illustrated on the stamp with the face value of lei 15, is an ancient custom still retained by Romanians, which is part of the winter traditions. On New Year’s Day, through the folk theatre that the Goat dance presents going through a cycle of “transformations” (death, burial, mourning and resurrection) we actually participate in a dramatic ritual intertwined with elements of worship. According to Romanian traditions, going along with the goat, as well as receiving well-wishers in every home, brings Christians good luck and prosperity in the household, being also an important custom for farmers who felt the Goat dance was a calling to the divine force for attracting rich crops. An anciently worshiped animal, the goat was associated to the cult of fertility. The ritual of this dance symbolizes the burial of the old year and the re-birth of the New Year. The issue is completed by a set of two First Day covers, that present another New Year’s custom, going around with the Sorcova, practiced especially by children. The etymology of the word “sorcova” comes from the Bulgarian word “surov”, which means “green” and refers to the budding green branch that the well-wishers would use in the past. As page composition, were used the sheet of 32 stamps and the minisheet of 5 stamps + 1 label.
Romfilatelia wishes you all a New Year filles with health, peace and hope for a better future!
For further information, please contact the Public Relation Office:
Tel: 021 / 337 24 42