Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Star......A Holy Star.....A Herald Of The Birth Of Our Lord

Star Carolers

Starting on Christmas Day, the village children begin caroling with The Star... a richly decorated hand made banner to let the world know A Child Is Born!
Bucovina Star Carolers

Tradition dictates it continues for days until January 6 the day of The Epiphany.
The Star of Bethlehem only appears in the Nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew.
Old Bucharest Star Carolers

The rituals are inspired by the star that guided the three wise men to the manger where they announced the birth of Jesus, worshiped Him and gave Him gifts. Many Christians see the star as a miraculous sign to mark the blessed event.

Suceava Carolers

Songs about the Star have transcended through time from different sources, some from the Orthodox Byzantine Church, some from the Latin Catholic Church literature, some from the Calvinist rite and many from the local folk traditions.

Moldova Star Carolers

Folk Group Paunita

Small choral groups of stellar carolers visit the homes of the neighbors during the days of Christmas, singing religious songs about the birth of Jesus..."Star Above is Shining", " In the town of Bethlehem" or "Three Magi from the East" and joyfully blessing them and their kin.

Maramures Sledding  
At the end of the day there is always time for some winter fun....

Friday, December 26, 2014

Three Days of Christmas...Traditional Feast Dishes


                                      Christ Is Born!   Glorify Him!

Tradition in Romania requires three days of Christmas celebration...what joy!

Celebration of faith, food and rituals that transcends centuries with variations of ingredients and details from region to region.
Maramures Carolers

Two of my favored areas of the country, Maramures and Ardeal are part of Transylvania, yet each with distinct nuances of flavors, scents and visual delights.

One common denominator is the pork meat and traditional smoked products following the traditional pig sacrifice on December 20th, on St.Ignatius day.  

St. Ignatius

In Maramures, the Christmas celebration feast includes smoked sausages and cured meats, roasts and freshly baked round breads, Colaci, sour soups and the traditional spirit of pear Palinca.   
Pear Palinca

Traditional Smoked Meats

Sweet Nut Roll

Ardeal is a region of Transylvania where local ingredients are part of ancient recipes...Christmas feasts must include a variety of soups such as Ardeal Sour Ciorba with Tarragon, Pork Meatball Soup, Smoked Meat Soup.

Smoked Meat Soup

Ardeal Sour Ciorba Tarragon
Pork Meatball Soup

Roast Pork

The pork roast is served with a spinach and sorrel sauce, sorrel being  a favorite herb of Ardeal.
Spinach and Sorrel Sauce

Sweet round braided breads abound as well as stuffed cabbage rolls with sauerkraut.
Sweet Round Bread Colac

Sauerkraut Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Polenta

The spirit of the region is made out of luscious plums, fruit-steeped brandy called Țuică.

Transylvanian Plums

Tzuica de Prune

Carolers are going house to house in every village to share the news...Merry Christmas!
Village Carolers

Romanian Folk Carols