Halloween Fericit {Happy Halloween}

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Halloween Fericit! Or Happy Halloween!

While kids and adults are getting ready to go trick or treating—or go out and sing karaoke… no one? just me?—here are some of the traditions from Romania’s Halloween, otherwise known as Noaptea Sfântului Andrei {Saint Andrew’s Night}!

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Noaptea Sfântului Andrei (Pronounced noh-ahp-tay-ah ss-f-oon-too-louie ahn-dray) 

Though the dates are a little different—November 30th versus our October 31st—Saint Andrew’s Night is the closest Romanian holiday closest to our Halloween. And you’ll never believe what it’s alternate name is… wait for it… the “Night of the Vampires”. I know, right? I’ll be celebrating it every November 29th, now! The celebration is much more horror Halloween than our holiday:

Romanians believe that during the night, vampires and “strigoi” (the undead) are coming out to fight and dance at the crossroads or near abandoned houses. In some villages young people gather at a common location to celebrate the occasion by “guarding the garlic.” They prepare their location grazing all access windows and doors with garlic. Each young girl is required to bring three cloves of garlic along. These are put together in a pot, and are guarded by the oldest woman in the house at candlelight. The party lasts all night. At dusk, the young folk take the pot of garlic outside and dance around it. The garlic is then split between the participants, and becomes a “sacred symbol” that will guard families against illness or spells. {Source}

Sounds like my kind of party. Who’s with me?

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Here are some other unique customs

  • Saint Andrew, the holiday namesake, eliminates the line separating the living from the dead.
  • A candle in the window is believed to call on the power of God, who will banish ghouls.
  • Some cover their yards with breadcrumbs, believing the evil spirits won’t enter their home if they have something to eat outside. (Note: There’s a similar custom with vampires, who are believed to demonstrate crippling OCD, so by throwing a bag of rice at their feet they feel compelled to stop and count/organize the rice instead of sucking your blood.)
  • Holy water and holy basil are added to a pet’s food because animals are also susceptible to evil spirits.
  • Speaking of pets, some believe the wolves learn to speak and whisper terrible, terrifying secrets to those around to hear.
  • All mugs, glasses, and vases in one’s house must be turned upside down so that the evil spirits don’t have a place to hide in them. (Fun fact: You probably weren’t aware evil spirits love sleeping in cups. Because they do.)
  • Unmarried girls perform a ritual, which involves more holy basil, hot coals and (you guessed it) turning a mug upside down in order to call out for her one true love. Imagine that first date.

Happy Halloween! | From Dill To Dracula www.FromDillToDracula.com
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Vampires, Dracula and Werewolves—Oh My!

While we know these characters as #TeamEdward, #TeamJacob and Gary Oldman, many of the stories of these creatures originated from Romania. I plan on featuring the striogi with my Let’s Talk About Dracula series, but did you know Romanians have werewolves, too? They’re called pricolici, and I may just have to feature them sometime soon, too 😉

Well… what do you think?

Romania’s tradition of a day where the dead walk with the living may not be the same as our Jack Skellington, Michael Meyers and cavities, but there’s something… special… in the way they deal with evil spirits and re-animated corpses.

And don’t get me started on what happens when you sneeze in Romania… I’ll save that for another blog post…

Like what you’ve learned? Going to adopt any of these customs?
Let me know in the comments!
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LA REVEDERE

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