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About Love And Romanian Dragobete

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dearest sugarplums,

I find it fascinating how the world loves to borrow traditions like Valentine's Day, when they even have their own similar ones - take for example the Dragobete celebration in Romania, that we will talk about today. I also find it a bit weird the trend nowdays to have a International Day of... something! This month we had the International Cat Day, in case you did not know - hope you pampered your kitten, else it will make your life hell... either way the kitten owns you ;) but with all this fuss about celebrating something only one day a year and making it a big hit, like Valentine's Day, we forget to be thankful for that specific thing throughout the whole year. And I think that is sad: celebrating love and you loved ones only at Valentine's Day and only for their bday is... just the regular thing! But why not show the person you love, that you love them everyday - I don't mean gifts and flowers (though that would be nice!) But even telling that person that you love him/her would be more than enough to brighten the day ;)
I think the people nowdays focus to much on their goals and their future and sometimes forget to look at the moment that they are in - the present. You need to be thankful each day for the family and friends around you - you never know for how long you will have them next to you: let's face it, we all age and die at different ages and different causes. I think it's better to enjoy the moments with the ones you love and tell them how much you love them, as often as you can - be it through a text message, email, call or face to face conversation. I believe you should never be scared to say you love someone or to say you are sorry. Now that I think about it, there is a quote I never could quite agree with: "Love means never to have to say you're sorry". I beg to differ! Being part of a natural, grownup relationship is admitting you also make mistakes and it means you also have to admit them to the ones you love and say you are sorry. Love means that the other person will always forgive you ;) and love means also you would not do anything to harm the other person in the relationship. 
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Today (24th February), in Romania as well as in other countries where Romanian people are living, we celebrate the traditional Romanian Dragobete day. It is a day where we celebrate love and budding love relationships. But that's where the resemblance to Valentine's Day stops: Valentine's celebrates couples in love, Dragobete celebrates the posibility of finding the person you love - your perfect match. Valentine's is all about celebrating the couple, Dragobete is about finding your significant other ;) traditionally this day is also the day that "birds are bethroded" and Spring begins to prepare it's coming. 
"Dragobete traditional story goes that, clothed with holiday suits, young men and women meet in front of the church and go searching the woods and meadows for spring flowers. They sit around fire on the hills of the village and talk. At noon, the girls run to the village, each followed by one boy who had fallen for them. If the boy is fast and reaches the girl of his choice and if she likes him, she kisses him in front of everyone.  This tradition triggered the expression “Dragobete kisses the girls!” (Dragobetele saruta fetele). The kiss show the two lovers’ engagement, Dragobete being an opportunity to show the love in front of the community"
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There is another custom I know since I was a wee lass... if there is still snow outside, the girls gather some and melt it and wash their hands and faces with it, as it is thought that this day the water is magical and they will live long and be beautiful. Also the girls who are not yet married or bethroded gather a specific plant (can't quite remember the name, but it has yellow flowers) and place it under the pillow. It is said that with its help you will dream of the one that it is meant for you ;) How about you? Have you ever tried any of these rituals? Or does your country have similar ones? I would love to hear from you - share your story and your traditional customs :) 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug that loves Love