Folk events announcing the coming of Christmas ? the Nativity are organized during the winter holidays in the region of Tara Fagarasului. The winter holidays are dominated by carol singing and wishing customs performed by young people organized in groups starting from commune Sercaia. The men?s group custom may be also found in the villages of Recea, Dejani, Lisa, Berivoi, Copacel, Breaza, Ileni, Cartisoara, Carta, Harseni, Mandra and Dragus. This event attracts the local youth, but also tourists who wish to accompany the boys all along the ritual.
Organization of the Men?s Group
?The men?s groups are specific to the region of Tara Fagarasului. Each group is made up of the Big and the Little Bailiff, the Big and the Little Cashier, the Big and the Little Standard Bearer, the Big and the Little Innkeeper, the Big and the Little Cook. They are elected from among the bachelors aged between 17 and 25. The number of the members of a men?s group varies from one village to another, but it does not exceed 12 as it used to happen before. They are elected by the entire community, by open vote, in public, nearly a month before Christmas. The Big Bailiff was elected from the military service attendants and had to be an example for the others. After voting, the candidate had to touch the house?s beam three times with his back, which symbolizes his power,? said Mr. Mihai Giuritean, Manager of the Culture House of Fagaras.
The men?s groups would also gather to sing carols through the village, on Christmas Eve, on December 24th, around 5 p.m. During carol singing, when dancing, they used to wear traditional holiday clothes. Their caps were adorned with flowers, sequins, pawn feathers, basil, and ribbons with the three-colors of the flag worn across the chest. The Big Bailiff would wear two crossed ribbons. Besides the usual carols, the men?s group would also sing other songs depending on the marital status of the host: carols for married people, special carols for maidens or bachelors and dances at the end of singing in those houses where girls or boys lived.
Celebrating Christmas and New Year?s Eve in the village
?On the first Christmas day, after carol singing, the entire men?s group goes to church together with the girls. On the second and the third Christmas day, a round dance is organized in the center of the village. On the fourth Christmas day the girls are invited to the men?s group?s host where a special meal is prepared. On New Year?s Eve, the young people go out and dance at 12 o?clock at midnight, in the center of the village, to ?burry? the year that has just passed. Church bells ring and people sing ?Happy New Year?s Eve!? said Mr. Cristinel Paltin, Mayor of Sercaia.