April 17, 2009Posted by on
On Friday before Easter, unmarried young male villagers get together in groups and go into the forest to fetch branches. On Saturday morning they decorate the branches with red eggs and colored ribbons, and in the evening they sneak into the unmarried girls’ yards, to decorate their house doors.
In the meantime, girls wait at the window, curious (as always) to see what’s going on – the more branches you get, the more boys like you.
According to a tradition borrowed from Germans and Hungarians, the next day after Easter, Transylvanian men spray/sprinkle women with perfume on their hair, to keep them beautiful for the rest of the year. The Easter sprinkling custom is a party opportunity, especially for those who have been fasting. Young men start their tour around noon, after church service, older men are doing this later on. Girls reward sprinklers with sponge cakes, eggs and, of course, drinks. It is said if a girl isn’t sprinkled, she won’t have any luck the whole year.
In the past, they used to sprinkle with regular water from a well, but today the water has been replaced by perfume.
There are some lyrics involved: “I heard you have a flower/ I came to sprinkle it/ So it doesn’t fade the whole year”, or “ I have been in a green forest/ Where I saw a blue violet/ That was ready to wither/ May I sprinkle it?”
One of the myths explaining this custom says that the second day of Easter, a Christian girl was selling eggs. A pagan girl bought eggs from her. The two girls started to talk to each other, and the first one tried to explain to the other the Christian law. The latter one being suspicious tells the first one: “I’ll believe you when these eggs will become red. The eggs became red instantly, and the frightened girls fainted. Two young boys passing by saw them and sprinkled them with some water to recover, and the girls rewarded them with red eggs. Since then the pagan girl became a Christian.
In some parts of the country men are sprinkled as well. Unmarried girls with full buckets of water start sprinkling men who show up in front of them. No one escapes of sprinkling neither those who stays indoors, because the girls enter in their yards and houses and look everywhere for them, so no one can escape of sprinkling. The tradition says that nobody gets upset on daring girls, so the girls become braver and braver year by year.