Romanian Wolf Legends

The Wolf in Romanian Mythology

With 15% of the total, Romania has one of the largest populations of wolves in Europe, Russia not included. So there must be a lot of Romanian wolf legends out there, right? For those willing to indulge in some serious wolf watching, this country is a true paradise. The wolf has been a part of Romanian history too. The Dacians who fought the Romans at the beginning of the 2nd century and lived on the ancient territory of what is now Oltenia and Wallachia were holding a wooden wolf head as a battleship flag. A lot of wolf legends derived from the Romanian’s ancestors appreciation of this animal.

Romanian wold legends the Dacian flag
A Dacian Wolf on Trajan’s Column 113 CE

As for the plethora of legends, things are only starting to get interesting. The werewolf, a fantastic incarnation of the wolf, has been present in Romanian mythology for centuries. A vârcolac or a pricolici is what we call a werewolf in Romanian. Popular belief says Vârcolaci (the plural) are shape-shifting evil creatures generated by human misbehavior. The Moon eating vârcolac is a mean person turned into a wolf. Legends say some humans remain vârcolaci even after death. They can fly, or their shade can reach the moon. When the moon is red, people say the vârcolaci are prowling through the woods.

Romanian wolf legends
A vârcolac drawing via desenez.net

The Wolf Fairy Tales and Fables | Romanian Wolf Legends

Some contributions from authors and storytellers to Romanian wolf legends are remarkable. But there is a particular fable that many Romanian children read. Not to mention, the book got a lot of illustrated editions. Below there is a glimpse into a version of it from my childhood. The famous fable called The Goat and Her Three Kids is a favorite among children book readers. In short, the three kids and their goat mother have to face the dangers of being eaten by the big bad wolf, who is their godfather. This is an inspiring rite of passage story with a happy end, eventually, in which the community plays a role as well.

Romanian wolf legends the goat
The Goat and Her Three Kids a fable by ion Creangă

Another notable Romanian wolf story is called Făt-Frumos și Lupul cel năzdrăvanPrince Charming and the Wonder Wolf would be a fair translation into English. However, this story is different than the previous one. It traveled the centuries as a folk story told by peasants until an editor named Petre Ispirescu collected a bunch of tales from popular sources and published them between 1862 and 1886. Of all the fairy tales and fables published by Ispirescu, the one that evokes the Romanian wolf legends is our favorite.

 

Martisor Romania 1 of March Celebration

Martisor Romania is a Spring celebration held on the first day of March. It is an old tradition; people still preserve all over Romania. Mărțișor [mərt͡siˈʃor] which derives from the Romanian word for March (Martie) is a kind of trinket or amulet. The little Mărțișor includes a silky red-white thread (șnur) tied into a bow to which a small toy is attached.

Thus, the red color refers to the essence of life, and the white one refers to infinite wisdom. If you combine the two of them, the result is a symbolic exchange of two vital forces.Martisor Romania

Martisor Romania and its Tradition

In the first place, men offer these symbolic presents to women from 1 March until 8th of March together with flowers and some wishes for having a happy springtime. Everyone says that those who wear these Mărțișor gifts for the entirety of March they will have luck and a prosperous year.

Besides, in the countryside, people used to celebrate Mărțisor by hanging a red and white string at the gate, window, cattle’s horn and shed to protect against evil spirits and to invoke nature’s regenerative power.

No wonder Mărțișor Romania’s celebration has ancient roots. According to archaeological research, the Mărțișor traced its history more than 8,000 years ago. Although some ethnologists believe that the Mărțișor celebration has Roman origins, others support the theory that it is an old Dacian tradition.

Furthermore, in the old times, Mărțișor was an accessory with small river pebbles, colored in white and red, stringed on a thread and worn around the neck. Wearing them like that was supposed to bring good luck and good weather, from March 1 until the first trees would bloom. When the first trees are in blossom, the Mărțișoare hang on tree branches.

Martisor Wishes:

Martisor RomaniaWe wish you a happy Mărțișor Day and a fantastic spring!

A small Mărțișor and a snowdrop I give you for you to know that spring is here. It is time to smile!

I wish you a spring full of energy, excitement, and joy!

The white thread is health, and the red one is prosperity. May together form a crown of success and joy for you!

Enjoy the sun and the beautiful days of Spring and welcome Mărțișor in your life!

For more of Romania’s folklore, traditions and superstitions, follow The Adventures of Kiara Yew.

Maramures Giants Legend

Maramures Giants illustrationThe Maramures Giants (Legenda uriașilor in Romanian) is a Romanian folklore legend. Here you will find a beautiful saga about the last family of giants that lived on earth.

The legends say that in the ancient history of our planet, different creatures lived and then they came to their extinction. It is said that one of the species were the giants. In the cultures of many countries, it is assumed that they lived on Earth just before the humans did. They were not as bright as the humans and that there was a great flood that destroyed the majority of them. They have built underground tunnels where they survived for an extended period.

Maramures legends say that one of the last known families of the Giants lived in the North of Transylvania, in the Valley of Iza.

Maramures Giants | The story of the last giants on Earth

Long ago, there was an old man with his daughter.

They wanted to live separated from other species on Earth, so they retired in the deepest forest so nobody could see them again. The Giants enjoyed life there. They were very good connoisseurs of plants and mushrooms. They used them as their food and their medicines as well.

One day, Rosalia, the giant daughter went down the Iza river to look after mushrooms. In that day, she wandered more than she usually did. And guess what? On a meadow, she met some little beings looking as she did but much smaller. She took them in her hands and dashed to her wise father to show him the strange things that she has just discovered.

Maramures Giants in the sunset“Father!  Look what little and sweet toys I’ve found in my rambling today!”

Her father smiled mysteriously and replied “Rosalia, these beings that you have found are not toys at all!” Suddenly he became serious.

“They are the ones that will live on this planet from now on!

You know that we are a few giant families still living. Our species will disappear together with us!” So, he walked away sadly.

Rosalia didn’t like at all what her father just told her!

She took the humans back to the meadow where she found them, and she started to follow them. She was very curious about their habits, occupations, and nourishment. How did their species survive and hers not?

Among these humans, there was a man that looked very brave and nice. He loved to ride horses, to watch birds and all the animals used to gather around him. Rosalia fell in love with him at first sight.

Maramures Giants and humans together

As the days were passing, an idea became more apparent. One day, Rosalia went to her father and told him about the new thought that mastered her.

“Father, you know the little toys that I’ ve found. There is one human that took my mind! I would like to marry him and have kids with him, and in this way, our species will continue to live as well. I need your help!”

Her father smiled. He was very happy with the courage of his daughter.

She continued “You must make me smaller and him bigger so that we can become a couple!”

Her father knew from his giant ancestors the secrets of plants and how to mix them so to become magic.

The next day, he went into the thick forest to look after secret plants that will help the metamorphosis. He came after a few days, and he started to boil and prepare his potions saying different magic words to them. Then he poured the mysterious drink on Rosalia and the tiny man.

The magic happened, and Rosalia became almost as small as a human and the man became a little taller just enough to match Rosalia.

They got married and had children. The other giants disappeared except Rosalia and her children.

Her father taught her the magic of plants, and she taught humans how to use them as well.

Humans lived on Earth from that time on.

Maramures Villages

Maramures villages are unique in the world and recognizable by their big wooden gates to every house and garden and of course by their wooden churches with long pointy towers.

Maramures Giants WinterThe village where the last Maramures giants lived was called Rozalia. After a while, the name changed to Rozavlea.

The story above is just one of the Maramures legends Kiara Yew has been collecting for curious travelers. The old people from this region still preserve stories about the giant people that lived here.

In this region, you can also find a Merry Cemetery. It is for sure an unusual place to visit!

Blajinii or the Kind Hearted Ones

In the Romanian folklore, there is a fantastic legend about Blajinii or “the Kind Hearted Ones.” Other names for them are “Rohmani” and “The White Ones. Depictions of Blajinii in stories, show them as semi-divine creatures. They live at the edge of our world, where all the waters of the Earth are gathering into one stream. The river that results in Apa Sâmbetei (Saturday’s Water) is part of Romanian mythology. There are many tales that use this imagery as well in other east European countries.

Blajinii, Rohmani and the Romanian mythology

Blajinii Easter egg shells on Apa SambeteiThe Blajini have been described as small, happy and vivant creatures, always welcoming us humans. No illness or suffering affects them. People say that they can do miracles and they also take care of our dead relatives and close ones. So that’s why our ancestors used to pray to them. Legends talk about children often visiting them or their ability to see the Blajnii, in contrast with adults. Here is a story about a journey to their lands. The Blajini images and the region of Apa Sâmbetei (Waters of Saturday) in this article are illustrations of children descriptions of them.

Blajinii or the kind hearted ones

The tradition of Throwing Easter Egg Shells in the Rivers for the Blajinii creatures

A tradition in Romania and Moldavia is to throw Easter painted eggshells in rivers and streams. In the hope that these to arrive at Blajini’s villages, The White Ones can ascertain that Easter has arrived. However, the celebration called Paștele Blajinilor translates as The Easter of Blajini or The Easter of Death in English. Moldovan locals once said they are happy to find out when the Easter celebration arrives each year, as they live in isolation. Also, they don’t join the others for the public Christian holiday. For celebrating the souls of dead relatives or friends, Romanians prepare festive meals as offerings to the poor at the cemetery, nearby the tombs, at the end of the mass and benediction. To all who wished to commemorate and pay their respects to the dead Easter comes as an opportunity. They celebrate in memory of the deceased.Blajinii Apa Sambetei

Traveling to the Lands of Blajinii

Here we are, going to the lands of Blajinii for the first time. The Romanian folklore is including many stories about creatures that lived on Earth or within the Earth. There are some creatures called Blajinii, Rohmani in Bucovina or “Kind Hearted Ones.” The old people in Romania are saying that the Blajini are creatures who take care of our dead people, they live isolated near the Apa Sâmbetei. Mean people mentioned they are small and they look like rats.

Traveling to thLands of Blajiniie Lands of Blajinii

Here is the story told by a woman that used to see them when she was a kid.

“I used to see them when I was a child, and I walked in forests. They used to call me and then they disappeared for a while. Now I go from time to time to them.

They fascinate me in the way they enjoy life and the beauty of their lands.

How to get there? There are places on our lands where is very easy to go to Blajinii, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t make this trip from any other site…

 I’m in the middle of the meadow where is such easy access to their lands.

 My guide Greg shows me a place and says” Here you should lay on grass…Let them take you with them. Hmmm, do you see that tree?”

I look around and notice an old oak a little far away but on the same meadow. It had an unusual shape, looking like a part of it was burned, but not from lightning as it has a regular form.

“This is not a usual shape at all!” I said to Greg.

“Yes indeed! This meadow is used not only by humans but by other species as well. It is a great place for traveling! They sometimes touch the trees when visiting…”

Lands of Blajinii
Apa Sambetei

    So, I just lay down on earth, surrounded by grass, flowers, and trees. I look up to the sky, and the birds are flying above. My body feels like it is submerging deeper and deeper until I think it is sinking into the earth little by little…

Describing Blajinii Creatures

Suddenly, a young spirit took my hand. I feel a little disoriented as of the new state.

This creature is the same size as a monkey, looking as we do, but thinner, with a face of a mouse and with ears more prominent than ours. It has brown hair and big brown eyes, wearing a simple green dress. It is obvious we are talking about a female exemplary.  The amazing part is that it is not touching the earth at all, she is vibrating near me, in a butterfly movement. It must have some wings that are not so visible as they are moving very quickly.

She took my hand, and we fly together through the tunnels. There are many tunnels, but it seems that she knows very well the direction where we are going.Blajinii

The Lands of Blajinii

We fly until we reach their village, surrounded by many streams of water, actually coming from everywhere: small streams, beautiful shaped, big rivers, they are all gathering here from all over the surface of the Earth. I remember that my grandma told me that this place is called “the Waters of Saturday.”

Their houses are small, covered with small pieces of wood, with tiny windows and doors. I had no chance to fit into their homes. They were all happy to see me, and I was amazed to discover their world. There were hanging plants and a kind of ivy that grew on the surrounded rocks and houses.

Here I meet many beings looking like my little guide. They are all happy to welcome me here.

Blajinii wants to play and enjoy life more than we do.

I ask the little spirit if she wants to tell me something and she says:

“Let’s dance!”

So we started to dance. It is a regular thing here to dance.

 She continues:

“You know… we are brothers and sisters from old times but have been separated some time ago, and we live here on this part of the Earth. And you guys live there on the surface of the Earth. Some people come and visit us from time to time, and this makes us very happy. They are mostly children. “

Lands of Blajinii
The Lands of Blajinii

We continued our dance.

The End of the Journey

I was feeling very tall and big compared to her. It was time to go home on the meadow I left.

I just felt the need to ask my little guide one more thing: “Show me the way to come here again!”Blajinii

She puts her hands up, and she starts to swirl quicker and quicker until the speed was very high. I follow her and here we are traveling again through tunnels between their world and our world.

And so, I arrived back on the meadow I left.

“See you next time, sister! ” And this is the end of the journey.

Old people still tell us stories about these small and happy creatures that live near “The Waters of Saturday.” They don’t know exactly how old these stories are or if they are real or not, but one thing is for sure: the people going there are telling the same stories about the lands of Blajinii, again and again.

So let’s enjoy the beauty of our planet!

The Hidden Legend of Manole

Romanian folk literature revolves around four major mythical themes: the foundation of the Romanian ethnic group, death and transhumance, love and desire for the unattainable, and last but not least sacrifice for creation. The following theme was materialized in a folk ballad called The Legend of Manole. Here it goes:

The Legend as told by Manole himself

I am Manole, and I love to build monasteries. Thus I am doing this as my father, my grandfather, my grand grandfather and so on did before me. I would never know what else to do. I have the most beautiful wife a man would want to have, and I love her. Her name is Ana♡.

Legend of Manole Curtea de Argeș Monastery

One day, ♛ The Great Ruler of our lands came to me and said: “Manole, gather all the craftsmen you need and build for me the greatest Monastery that you ever built and anyone has seen before! If this will not be ready until the winter comes, your head will lay near your feet, and the same will happen to your craftsmen!”

I stayed all the night awake, and my thoughts were coming over and over, never-ending…I created thousands of questions on how to build the Monastery, what stone to use, how it should look, how high near the sun to be …. and if I was able to do this in such a short period….

Ana, my dear, and beloved wife told me: “Don’t do this, my dear husband build small churches with a high spirit you know The Great Ruler is cruel and prides himself on his realizations…Don’t go into the trap…. “

“My dear Ana… but you know I love to build churches and monasteries; you know that I am the best mason from this land…If I am building this Great Monastery, there will be others, from other lands that will come to me…. I will build other monasteries again and again… We will have a bigger home, a lot of cows and horses…our kids will learn together with the Great Ruler’s children. It’s the best thing we could have it now I will do it. I don’t know how but I will do it…” I told her.

And so I did…

The curse and the sacrifice | The Legend of Manole

Legend of Manole brickNext morning, I gathered all the most excellent craftsmen I knew, we have chosen the place of the Monastery, and we started to build…Each day, ♛ The Great Ruler came to see our work but somehow, something was not working.

What we made yesterday, it was all destroyed the next day…and so it happened for a few months ⌛⌛⌛

Legend of Manole brick

I couldn’t believe this strange thing that happened to us. It was like a curse.

♛ The Great Ruler became angrier and angrier and, so I started to feel the fear … My fear was so huge that I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep… It was like a bad dream.

But then, one night there was a voice that started to tell me:

“Manole, you must sacrifice someone! That being will be built together with the Monastery, and so it will be finished. It was meant to be this way, the way you created and imagined this Monastery. So, it will be…

So, the next day, I went quickly and happy to tell the great news to the other masons…we will sacrifice the first being that will appear next morning, just before the sun will first shine…☀

We all agreed so.

Next morning, we all stayed and waited to see who will come.

But… it was my dear and beloved Ana that came …

“Why didn’t I listen to her… why is this happening to me…What have I done wrong?” I cried like this all the night… but the night did not change my reality…

💀

So I went and did what the voice told me. And yes, the Monastery started to grow to become higher and higher until the sky, near the sun. ♛ The Great Ruler of our lands was happier and happier as the days were passing… he was very proud of his jewel, of his Great Monastery. My craftsmen had not finished yet, and there were already people coming from other lands to see it. It was so beautiful just like my beloved Ana was.

Fear started to grow for the Great Ruler: “What if Manole will build another Monastery, a more beautiful one….”Legend of Manole brick

The fear grew and grew until one day when he decided to leave us, the masons, on top of the Monastery so that we will never, ever build something like this again. And so he did to us…

The Icarus Myth and The Legend of Manole

The next day, he took us all on top of the Monastery and then he took away the stairs. He left us on top of the Monastery, with no other way to going back down. But then, we all said:

Legend of Manole the craftsman“If we built such a wonderful Monastery, then we can also build wings, and we will be like the birds… we will go down on earth again! “

We crafted some wings from the wood that we have found on top of the Monastery…Then we started to fly like the birds, but this happens only for a few seconds, as we were far too heavy, not like the birds. We all finally reached the earth., but not as we expected it.

And so I met Ana again…The place where I touched the earth…  it is spring now ♒… with refreshing water. Come and drink the water and read my story again!

The Monastery remains and will remain the most beautiful Monastery forever in my lands…

People from all the areas around will come to pray here and tell this story again…the story of me, Ana and ♛ the Great Ruler…

We call it Curtea de Argeș Monastery, and this is The Legend of Manole.

For more Romanian legends and folktales check out Romanian folklore.

Spiral Temple Adventure

So, dear friend, I invite you to pack your bags. We are about to go on the Spiral Temple Adventure together. Yes, you heard me right. It’s an old magical temple, carved in a cave. You won’t find much information about it on the Internet, but trust me, we are talking about thousands of years of history.

Spiral Temple Adventure cave

It’s a sunny Sunday morning, and we reach the place by car. Near the old cave, the Weirds Monastery awaits. As we exit our vehicle, we hear the priest singing. Consequently, the villagers gather inside and outside the church. They are all singing.

What an enchanting place this is! With birds singing, a lot of trees,🌳 wooden fences, a church and even a sacred cave. Also, there is a blessed refreshing water spring the adventurous traveler can try. Let’s try it! ♒

As we enter the temple, we arrive in the first chamber. Looking up, we can notice the stone is carved into a spiral form. The light goes down into the temple in circles through the spiral. It’s pure light.

I close my eyes and make a wish. Since here there is a custom to make wishes in sacred places or fountains, why not? 🌠

Spiral Temple Adventure | A History

We found out from the monks. This temple has different names like “The Temple of Destiny,” “The Temple of Wishes.” Once a spiritual crossing point at the border with The Austro-Hungarian Empire, The Șinca Veche Rupestral Monastery, in Brașov county, is an astonishing creation.

It is thought to have originated 7000 years ago. Some say it was carved in stone. And that would be an astonishing work. Different other galleries and chambers have disappeared over this extended period. It was discovered in 1742, according to some historical sources. Fortunately, the spiral of light in the temple and the altars used by monks inside are accessible for visitors like us too.

The Spiral Temple is a place where different people from all over the country come to address their wishes and prayers to God. By chance, we get to watch them write down names and wishes on pieces of paper and then stick them on the walls. The atmosphere is very spiritual here at the Destiny Temple or Mănăstirea Ursitelor as Romanians call it.

Then I notice a woman is praying to my left. She put her hands on the cold stone marked with an unknown sign, something like an hourglass. We all want to stay in the circle of light that comes from the spiral behind us. I wait my turn silently…⏳

The second chamber is a darker room. It has a hall, and the light from the spiral comes here too, but more powerful and in smaller circles of light. It’s a chamber of silence. I close my eyes and remain in the bright spot. One can feel how time stops.  My experience was incredibly close to hearing all the uttered prayers the cave encapsulated for hundreds of yearsIt feels magical and pure. 

A Spiritual Adventure at the Destiny Temple

Subsequently, my daughter joins me into the dark room, and she starts to run in circles around the circle of light formed inside the chamber. It’s a kind of tribal dance. We look stunned at her movements. It is such a profound moment. ♣

Into the third chamber, we are not allowed to enter. It is the darkest one. We can look into it, but the light is not helping us. If we make pictures, it is better. It has an altar within it.

The signs of Yin and Yang and the Star of David are present in the Altar. The Yin & Yang symbol is inside the Star of David.

A picture of a man is near these symbols. Don’t we know how old this picture is? Who is the man? But we notice that he is standing with his back to these symbols.

It is a place of acceptance. Admittedly we all have Yin and Yang inside us. We all have light and dark, feminine and masculine, good and bad. We are one. These are just faces of the same thing. 

I take a deep breath. The air is wet and sacred. I love this place ♠. True Spiral Temple Adventure, indeed.

Other symbols | The Spiral Temple Adventure continues

Then, I said to myself that I should keep up with my journey. As I step outside the temple, the mind starts to create questions and seek answers.

Why is this symbol of Yin and Yang here? Why is the Start of David here? And most important. Why is the Yin and Yang symbol inside the Star of David?

These are not common symbols in the local tradition. Who is the man drawn? Why is the stone of the temple so different than the other rocks around this place? Nothing is written around.

Some old stories mention something about a nearby Dacian settlement. No other clues.

I stopped to drink some cold water from the water spring in the vicinity. The water came so refreshing me. Finally, I take this moment with me and continue my journey. See you there!

You can make your wish, have good thoughts and then embark on a trip to Romania to experience a Spiral Temple adventure.

For more Kiara Yew Adventures follow our Top Destinations.