Do you want to spend the most beautiful Christmas in Transylvania?
To enjoy local traditions and customs, to welcome carolers in traditional clothing, to listen to folklore ensembles, and to explore Transylvanian cuisine?
Unique landscapes, outdoor activities, and many other surprises await you in these fairy-tale lands.
Travlocals helps you book quickly and commission-free the best accommodation and accompany it with memorable experiences.
But before that, let's see some interesting things about the winter holidays in Transylvania.
Christmas in Transylvania. Traditions and Customs
For Christians in Transylvania, Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. This occasion of joy, which symbolizes the birth of baby Jesus Christ, gathers not only families but also numerous old traditions around it.
The first custom closely related to this holiday is Christmas Fasting. It starts on November 15th and lasts until Christmas Eve. During this period, people do not consume dairy products or meat-based products. All of these are done for the forgiveness of sins in the ending year.
Ignat or pig slaughter takes place on December 20th and is a celebration that brings together all family members. Fattened throughout the year, the pig is stabbed and covered with straw. After being well-burnt, the skin is carefully cleaned. The meat is used in traditional recipes, and the dishes are to be consumed until Epiphany day.
Sausages, toba, piftie, stuffed cabbage rolls, and caltabosi are among the most delicious.
Interestingly, Transylvanians also make a pig's alms. The fatty meat from the freshly slaughtered pig, together with sausages, lard, red wine, and other spices, is cooked in a cauldron over a wood fire. It is usually served with polenta and pickles. It is the first heavy meal after Christmas Fasting, a meal around which the whole family gathered.
In popular folklore, the pig and its blood are considered to symbolize prosperity, luck, and fertility.
There are many superstitions surrounding this holiday, and we will only list a few:
- If you don't slaughter the pig on Ignat Day, it will lose weight.
- The pig must be slaughtered in daylight to keep evil spirits away.
- The animal must be sprinkled with holy water and placed with its head facing east.
- Any other activity unrelated to pig slaughter is forbidden on Ignat Day.
- If you see blood on Ignat Day, you will be protected from illness for the whole year.
One of the most important Christmas traditions in Transylvania is caroling. In rural areas, this custom is faithfully done every year and has little in common with urban caroling.
Children are the first to go caroling on Christmas Eve morning, reciting short carols that announce the birth of Jesus and herald the upcoming holiday. They wish the hosts plenty and health. They are rewarded with apples, pretzels, and sweet bread.
Then come the older children who stage more complex carols, with each having a well-established role. Props and special costumes are not missing.
In the evening, young people dressed in traditional costumes gather in groups of carolers, in even numbers, to bring them luck and carol from house to house. Hosts welcome them with brandy, red wine, pretzels, sweet bread, apples, and traditional dishes.
Washing the Face
In many areas of Transylvania, the tradition of washing the face is still preserved. This involves washing the face with water from the valley, placed in a bucket to which a silver coin is added. Thus, it is believed that the evils will flow down the water and we will be clean throughout the year.
Calling the Girls
Another tradition on Christmas Day is Calling the Girls. The village youths dress up in traditional costumes and go to the homes of unmarried girls to invite them to a party that will take place in the following days.
In addition to these, there are many other traditions and customs related to Christmas in Transylvania. If you choose to spend the winter holidays here, you will experience an idyllic world and feel like you have gone back in time.
Christmas Accommodation in Transylvania
All of this fairytale atmosphere can remain only a dream if you end up in the wrong place. Therefore, we recommend that you choose accommodation in authentic places to properly celebrate the winter holidays in Transylvania.
Travlocals has selected for you the most beautiful traditional houses, mansions, castles, or mountain cabins, where the hosts will do their best to offer you memorable experiences.
You can book quickly and commission-free all of them through our platform.
And if you need more information, we provide you with other useful articles:
Indulge in Transylvania's Unforgettable Food: A Memorable Guide
Top Tourist Attractions in Transylvania: Must-Visit Places for Your Next Vacation
Where Exactly is Transylvania? It's More Than Just Dracula's Castle