Sânziene (some sort of Veela sisters)
June 24, 2009Posted by on
Romanians have at least 3 types of mythologic characters Harry Potter would call “Veela”. We’ve talked about the Rusalii, celebrated sometime after Easter; the Sânziene have their feast on June 24th.
According to legends, Sânzienele (or Drăgaica in Muntenia and Oltenia) are beautiful girls (obviously) who live in the forests or plains. They dance in circles and give special powers to weeds and flowers, turning them into healing plants for all kinds of diseases.
People say the night of the Sanziene, magic things happen, both good and evil forces reaching a climax. Fairies fly through the air, singing, blessing the harvest and the married women with children, breeding birds and animals, curing sick people, protecting the fields from devastating storms.
BUT If they are not properly celebrated, they will get as angry and evil as their Rusalii cousins, punishing men and women alike for any sin they can identify. And you can usually find good reasons for justice with anyone.
The feast of the Sânziene (of course there is a feast) is a good opportunity for young people who wish to join destinies to meet, it’s a celebration of love accompanied by music and dance.
On the night before, young men and women susceptible to getting married are gathering in the village. The young men start fires on the hills, and the women pick flowers called “sânziene” on the field and make crowns for themselves.
At midnight, they throw these crowns over the house and if they get stuck on the chimney it means there will be a wedding soon. At dawn, the young men are crossing the village with flowers of sânziene on their hats.
Then, from a group of seven girls they choose “Drăgaica”, the most beautiful girl from the village. The chosen young girl will be decorated with wheat flowers, and the other girls will be dressed in white. The Dragaica followers walk through the village and on to the field . At the crossroads the young girls are dancing in circles and happily singing. According to some experts, the feast has its origins in a primitive geto-dacic cult of the Sun (like most things). The ceremony expands to the entire village. The households are getting a piece of wheat and put it as high as they can on the barn, hoping their wheat crop will reach that same height.
Old people say that on the night of Sânziene, the ”iele” (some evil fairies, actually the original “Veela” sisters from Harry Potter’s world) gather and dance in the woods, and who sees them remains silent for good or become mad. Also they believe that whoever does not respect Drăgaica’s feast and do their domestic tasks instead may have some misfortune coming their way.
It’s said that young girls eager to marry should wash with dew, but for this ritual to work, certain conditions must be respected: at dawn, the old women of the village must collect the Sanziene’s dew from the untouched places on the field in a white cloth, which they squeeze into a new pot. On the way home, they mustn’t talk to anyone and should not leave anyone in the path. If all these are fulfilled, who will wash with dew will be healthy for the entire year.
Married women can also follow this ritual, to be loved by their husbands all year and have beautiful and healthy children.