Valentine's Day, lovers' day, famous all around the world is celebrated on February 14th and is called "Dragobete" in the Romanian tradition, being celebrated on February 24th. Dragobete or Saint Joan of spring is considered to be the day when the wood birds loosen their tongue and start singing or the day when all birds and animals mate. In the folk tradition, Dragobete is assimilated to the beginning of spring and represents the celebration of the young men and women, of all those who are in love.
On this occasion, several events are organised in several localities from Brasov County, gathering the entire local community. It ends with the Dragobete Ball.
This is the day when young men and women are making each other love declarations and ask the Dragobete to bring them love all year long. The girls collect snow, melt it and use the resulted water to wash during the entire year to become beautiful and loving. If a girl meets no boy this day, there is the traditional belief that she will not be loved the entire year. This custom attracts a lot of tourists in the mountain areas where tourism providers organize events for the celebration of Dragobete, the Romanian Valentine's Day.
In Bran-Moieciu region, during this period, the occupancy in pensions is at its highest level. The owners organize contests for young lovers, each having the possibility to receive a One-Day Marriage Certificate. They also organize fire camps, where people dance around and eat Romanian traditional food. In Moieciu "Dragobete Ball" is organized including a festive dinner in the sound of fiddlers` music.
Dragobete and the Birds
In Zizin village, Tarlungeni commune, Brasov County, interactive competitions and an evening sitting of local young people from all ethnic groups, Romanian, Hungarian and Romany, are organized on Dragobete. The children wear traditional costumes, as well as costumes symbolizing the coming of spring. According to the folk tradition, on Dragobete birds flock together, peeing and mating and start building nests. This day, the young men and women go out in the woods while yelling exultantly and pick up the first spring flowers. The girls fly their hands just like the birds do.
The Ritual Run
There is a tradition that young people still continue to be celebrated: they shout in a loud voice "Kiss the girls, Dragobete!", which urges young men to kiss young women. This is the moment of the ritual run which ends with girls' kissing. On Dragobete people used to build swings hung by trees' branches for the girls, saying loving words to make them accept their kisses and make promises of love.