Love should be celebrated every day, right? And it is! Certainly, Valentine’s Day is already well-known around the globe for its love-related symbolism. However, the Romanian culture has its own love-day. On the 24th February Romanians celebrate Dragobete, the day that will bring love and happiness for the rest of the year. So, forget Valentine’s Day just for a minute and discover the traditional Dragobete!
Why not? First of all, the Dragobete celebration is deeply related to Romanian mythology. Dragobete is the Romanian God of love, the Cupid of the Carpathians and the protector and bringer of love. Furthermore, Dragobete is pictured as a young handsome God and is known to bring love and joy into people’s lives. Nevertheless, he is also related to Romanian History.
In local mythology, Dragobete is the grandson of the last Dacian King, Decebal, and the son of Baba Dochia. As we already know, there are several Romanian superstitions worth mentioning. However, Dragobete is the most romantic of them all. Hence, you can find love, confess it or just enjoy the company of your beloved one on this meaningful day.
Dragobete is so powerful that his love affects not just humans but animals and birds as well. Even more, on this day birds find their pair and start building their nest. Additionally, animals will also “get engaged” during this celebration of love and they will remain in love for the rest of the year.
In the human world, things are more complicated. We usually tend to make them like this, right? Well, finding your love on Dragobete might be easier than on any other day. The Romanian celebration of Dragobete is full of symbols and mythological rituals. For example, it has its own Romanian saying: “Dragobete kisses the girls” ( in Romanian “Dragobetele pupa fetele”). Curious about what this means? Read on and we’ll find out together.
Dragobete rituals and traditions
Back on the days, young boys and girls used to wear festive clothes and meet at the village’s church on the morning of 24th February. Later, they would wander outside the village in search of spring flowers. If the boys were lucky enough, they will find them and make small bouquets. Later on, the young ladies would wash their hair using the water from these flowers, while reciting a magical poem. Sounds like a fairytale, right? Wait for it… When these rituals are completed, the girls will run back to their village. That’s when the handsome God comes in! Therefore, if a boy likes a girl, he will run after her. And if he manages to catch her, he is entitled to a kiss! This way their love becomes official. Sometimes, it’s even considered the beginning of their engagement. Hence the famous saying “Dragobete kisses the girls”!
Even more, stargazing on Dragobete ties the knot and makes love stronger! This is why, in the night of Dragobete, happy couples are dancing by the moonlight, around the bonfires. Forget about heart-shaped chocolate, overpriced floral arrangements, and commercial madness! Dragobete is the Romanian equivalent of Valentine’s Day and it can’t get more romantic than this! Yes, it has a smaller commercial impact but a bigger and long-lasting emotional effect! Become a part of these Romanian rituals and let the magic surround you!
Welcoming Spring in Romania
Dragobete is celebrated on 24th February, less than 1 month before the Spring Equinox. Hence, everything starts coming back to life. Nature is waking up after the heavy winter and trees start blooming. Even more, if the sun shines on this day, Spring will start early and the year will be warm.
Nonetheless, in order to “secure” your happiness for the rest of the year, there are some rules to be considered. For example, you shouldn’t cry or complain about anything on Dragobete. If you do it, the rest of the year might be full of sorrow! Even more, men shouldn’t annoy their ladies or their love will fall apart. And we don’t want that to happen, do we?
Are you single on Dragobete? Oh well, Romanian mythology has you covered as well. If you hug or kiss someone that you’re attracted to on this day, things will change drastically and it is generally believed that you can find your soulmate during the year. So, Dragobete might solve all your love problems, if you celebrate it properly. At least for a while…
Nevertheless, together with Martisor Romania, this holiday marks the beginning of a new season. It welcomes Spring, the migrating birds coming back home and the sun that starts shining brighter.
Are you curious about more Romanian mythology and legends? Oh, we have plenty of them. Ever heard about Blajinii or the bogeyman legend? They are not so romantic as Dragobete, indeed. Anyway, take a look and you’ll understand better the Romanian culture! And don’t forget to never stop celebrating love! Dragobete kisses the girls!