Like anywhere else, the holiday season in Romania is filled with lots of cleaning, cooking, hosting and visiting friends, caroling and just a little sleeping.
This year, one of my English Clubs participated in the school’s Christmas celebration by performing “12 Days of Christmas”. I’m so proud of them because its extremely difficult and little frightful to get on stage, in front of the whole town, and sing in a foreign language. Not to mention the fact that the song we picked isn’t an easy one, even for native speakers! I think they did a fabulous job, and while you can’t hear them sing in the video they were and kept up with the dance steps. Bianca, Yulyana, Antonia, Felicia, Gabriela, Ovidiu, Liviu, Andreea, and Radu you guys did an excellent job.
If you can’t view the video, follow this link
Also, during the Christmas celebration students sang and danced to Romanian carols. Enjoy the collection of songs from Novaci’s celebration.
Here are the songs:
If you can’t see the video follow this link
Similar to last year, this Christmas I participated in colindeţ which occurs on December 24th and it takes place in town. The tradition is for kids to walk from home to home collecting fruits, bread, cookies, warm wine, warm Țuică and chocolate. Residents set up a table outside of their home and distribute what they have made or bought to share with the kids. Everything is collected in a traista (Romanian traditional bag) and brought home to share with the family. I especially like the homes that give out warm wine because after walking in the cold for over an hour a warm glass of wine gives me just enough warmth to continue walking.
While walking from house to house, my students taught me the following song:
Cine nu dā-m colindeţ
Sā-I moară porcu-n coteţi
Şi căteau-m grajdi la veci
Că aşai la Novaci
Who doesn’t give us colindeţ
I’ll slaughter your pig in the coop
And the dog in the stable
This is how its done in Novaci
Translation– it obviously rhymes in Romanian and sounds funnier. If you should take anything away from this song is that you shouldn’t mess with people from Novaci, WE’LL go after your animals :)
After colindeţ I came home to help my host family with the Christmas Day meal. In fact, cooking for Christmas is a long process that starts with the slaughtering of a pig and, in most cases, almost every family has a pig. I can only speak for the people I know in Novaci, people who live in big cities usually have or know someone in the countryside who can provide them with all the delicious sausages prepared after the slaughtering. Traditionally, the pig is slaughtered a day or two before Christmas to make several different sausages from the meat and other body part are used for soups and dishes for the Christmas season. However, now the slaughtering can take place anytime after December 1st because its a lot of work to slaughter a pig and make a meal in one day. I didn’t help with anything pig related this year but instead made “salata de boeof” which consist of slicing green and red peppers, tomatoes, cooked carrots, pickles and meat. After this is done we made homemade mustard and mixed it all together, it was delicious.
On the 25th I went to church with my host family. Usually, the Orthodox service is three hours long but we were only there for half of it. Standing is the norm during service as there are no pews in an Orthodox church. There is a lot of kneeling and standing so I usually get really dizzy and have to walk out to get some air. Its acceptable to do this, as people walk in and out of church during service all the time. And while there are no pews in church, there are wooden chairs along the wall that are usually reserved for the elderly.
I spent the rest of the holiday season with friends in Novaci and Targu Jiu. Being this my last Christmas in Romania, I wanted to make sure I was surrounded by the people who have taken such great care of me. Below are pictures of the Christmas lights in Targu Jiu, a city about 40 minutes from Novaci. I absolutely love these lights, they are filled with so much holiday spirit that its hard not to smile when you see them.
One more picture:
Time is indeed going fast.