THE TRANSITION RITUALS IN MOLDAVIA (North- East of Romania) MADE BY THE ROMANIAN STUDENTS FROM L.P.S. ROMAN coordinating by Julia Giurgi The most important moments in humans lives are considered great celebrations Many of these rituals are still kept by important moments in life: birth, wedding death. The customs related to the cycle of life like birth, marriage funeral are the most important by their uniqueness. THE BIRTH The birth At birth there are many interdictions and rituals that are to be held and the essential moments are related to the purifying act and recognition in the new state. From the folkloric point of view the godparent ship has a special importance. The birth The birth of a child, followed by the baptism and the celebration party is very important in the young family’s life. From the birth to the baptism, numerous magical practices are executed by the midwife The birth These practices aim to clear off the evil and to create the right environment for the new born baby. The midwife ties a red yarn at his hand to protect him from the evil eye. Also, the midwife carries the new born to the church for the baptism saying: “I carry off a pagan and I will bring a christian” The godfathers must pay the midwife a silver coin. The first bath In the water of the first bath, the midwife must put: Basil Corn Dill Mint Poppy Feathers Holly water Silver coins The parkas The belief that the parkas hold our destiny in their hands is very common in Romanian traditions The 3 parkas come in the odd nights (3, 5 and 7) in the first week of the baby’s life to destine his fate In our region, the midwife puts a light in the baby’s room when it gets dark outside. The parkas must find the light to be satisfied, so they will predestine a good life to the child The sick babies When a child has health problems in his first weeks of life, there are some measures to be taken in order to save him, a ritual that repeats the birth: The baby is passed through the chemise that the mother wore at his birth; The baby is sold over the window. THE WEDDING The wedding The wedding is by far the most interesting family custom of all that is very complex in its traditional forms combining economic, law, ritual and folkloric elements. The popular "show" is almost fabulous. The acts from the marriage foundation are ritual and ceremonial meant to bring prosperity, fecundity, happiness and social integration to the young family. The wedding In this moment the popular costume gains some specific significances. The act of the ceremony is composed from many customs: the well - wishing at the bride's gate, the dowry dance in the bride's yard the parents forgiveness, the wedding at the groom's house, the gifts the bride's adorning. The wedding The musical repertoire is suitable: "the dowry dance", "the big dance", "three times around the table", "the bride's grief song", "the bride's ring dance", "the big ring dance". The wedding Some rural communities still appeal to suitors to unite the families. At the meeting between the two families, the match-making, they decide the future best man and the sponsor, the cook, the maids of honor and the music. They also decide the wedding’s date The suitor uses a special poem, an allegory about a young hunter following a dear The wedding The groom’s family goes door to door with bottles of wine to invite everyone at the wedding. Everybody must guest the groom’s family, because the refusal is equivalent to the refusal to participate at the wedding The wedding Three weeks before, the priest announces the wedding at the end of the mass, to discover the possible obstacles in the finalization of the wedding The wedding In the wedding day, the maids of honor come at the bride’s house to brush the bride’s hair in one braid, made from odd locks Then the maids finish the hairdo by putting on a coronet made from multicolored flowers and the white veil While the bride is adorned, she must cry, even if she likes the groom The groom is shaved by a barber or by the best man. In the time being, the assistants make jokes and sing. The wedding The groom’s family is heading to the brides house Here some ancient rituals take place When they arrive, they find the gates closed and tied in chains The young men from them groom’s group simulate a fight with those from the bride’s group. The simulated opposition is finished with the reconciliation of the two groups by the mediation of an amount of liquor. The wedding the forgiveness is the next moment. The bride and the groom sit facing the east in their knees on a pillow. The bride sits on a pillow for her life to be easy and agreeable. The wedding In church, the bride’s mother puts a carpet and two cushions in front of the spouses. the best man stands on the right of the groom and the sponsor on the left of the bride. when the two put their wedding rings on, the bride tries to step on his foot, so she can have the supremacy in the marriage. The wedding Before entering the house where the party takes place, the bride looks through knot-shaped bread to the four cardinal points and, in accordance with what she sees, she can foresee the future Then, she breaks the bread in four and throw it in all the cardinal points The wedding At the entrance, the bride’s mother sprays everybody with holly water and serve them with a glass of wine. Before the party begins, the priest blesses the food and the drinks, after that the dance and the mirth can begin. The wedding The dance begins with o long traditional round dance The wedding Then everybody dances in pairs or in column The wedding A practice kept till today is related to the chicken At the wedding party, all the guests share a chicken, symbol for the consuming of the marriage The wedding At the end of the party, the orator puts a table in the middle of the room and a pot with water The bride’s mother offers towels to the sponsor and the best man They are the first to wash their hands in the water brought before Everyone makes jokes, by pouring ashes The wedding The orator goes at every guest in the succession of the status: best man, the groom’s family, the bride’s family, other relatives and friends Each one of them must announce their gifts for the new family, that consist usually in money The wedding The last moment is the bride's adorning The veil is got down from the brides head and replaced by a head-kerchief This symbolizes the bride’s entrance in the world of matures The wedding After the wedding, the young couple will live in the husband’s house The young wife must respect a few rituals, in order to establish her place in the new residence In Romanian traditions, the wife and the mother-in-law are at variance The wedding The first thing to do for the young woman is to “conquer” the hearth, to show her mother-in-law that she is the new master of the house Also, the wife must bring water from the well and to put it near the hearth This practices assure the bride that she will have a solid marriage and many children The funeral The funeral Customs related to death are still actual - beliefs and rituals of ancient origins. The funeral The ritual has many stages: the severance of the alive ones, the preparing for the passing in the other world and the integration in the world of the dead, the social equilibrium restoration after the deceased one passing. The funeral The relationship with the forefathers continues through different memorial manifestations The most important period is the one between the agony and the formation of the funeral convoy It is believed that the dead person’s soul is now omnipresent, it sees and hears everything The deceased has now an uncertain status: he hasn’t leaved our world and he hasn’t integrated in the other world The funeral The candle lighting is one of the most common elements in the funeral ritual, that can be met at every christian nations even in our times. The funeral Immediately after the death, the ones around him open all the windows and doors, so the deceased soul can get out All the bedclothes and all the deceased cloths are burned in the yard All the mirrors in the house are covered The funeral The deceased bath is made by people of the same sex, which aren’t relatives In the water are put malefic plants, like nettle and the water is thrown in a safe place because, it is believed that it contains a part of the soul of the dead The funeral As long as the deceased is in the house, he’s never left alone. The laments are a specific form of communication with the dead person During the vigil, some games are organized, as the last party of the deceased The funeral the funeral takes place After three days, The coffin is placed on a black hearse and on the way to the church, there are made 12 stops, called bridges, symbolizing the journey to the other world The funeral At the cemetery, the participants put money in the coffin, so the dead one can pay his journey Also, the family gives to everyone present towels, handkerchiefs, candles and knot- shaped bread The funeral After the funeral, everyone gathers at the relatives house for the alms THE TRANSITION RITUALS Some Romanian transition rituals are well kept even today, specially is the villages. The superstitions and the rituals are different from region to region, but they are based on the same life conceptions and beliefs.