Life's journeys: Language, culture, communication

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Women, mothers and really old ladies

Now that March 8 is behind us (a day also known as Woman’s Day or Mother’s Day in Romania and, yes, flowers are expected!), it is time to introduce you to another Romanian tradition.

This time, we’re talking about a really old one, dating all the way back to the Romans: the Days of the Hags (Zilele Babelor), taking place each year between the 1st and the 9th of March. In Romanian mythology, this tradition signifies the return of spring and it has many different versions, but the gist of it goes like this: Old Woman (Baba) Dokia (probably short for St. Eudokia of Heliopolis) comes out with her herd of sheep at the beginning of March, and each day she drops another layer of clothing (one coat or lambskin every day).

People (especially women) pick their “Baba” beforehand, (i.e. choose a day between 01.03 and 09.03 that they will consider theirs), and wait to see what the weather will be like that day. It is said that if the weather is fair, they will have a good year (or they’ll be fair in their old days). If the weather is foul, they’ll have a difficult year (or they’ll turn bitter with age).

Have you ever picked a Hag before? Mine is today and, whaddayaknow, it’s both sunny/mild and very windy, so not quire sure what to make of it! 🤔

(later edit: The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I don’t really mind the gales. It’s a really beautiful day, with ripples on the surface of the water and reeds dancing in the wind. Life is beautiful.)


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