Dragobete, a traditional Romanian celebration, is held annually on February 24, ten days after Valentine’s Day, and is dedicated to love and nature. As birds begin to mate and build nests during the month of February, which marks the beginning of spring, nature itself appears to be celebrating. Consequently, this day is also known as the day when “birds are engaged,” and this good omen encourages young Romanians to pursue their own future “mates.” Why is it called Dragobete? According to legend, he was the son of Baba Dochia, the goddess who ushered in spring, and the Virgin Mary blessed him to be the guardian of love due to his unending generosity.
The background of Dragobete
Dragobete Day likely has its roots in Dacian and Roman customs. As far back as 600 B.C., the ancient Romans observed the Lupercalia festival on February 15 every year. This was a celebration of Lupercus, the Roman fertility god. Young, unmarried women were required by tradition to write love letters and place them in a large urn at this violent and disorderly festival. Each girl would then be courted by the man who chose her note at random.
During the years 201 to 300 A.D., it is believed that the Roman Emperor Claudius II executed a man named Valentine for secretly marrying Christian couples. This is the origin of Valentine’s Day, when on February 14 the Catholic Church declared him a saint and commemorated his death. Therefore, Dragobete is frequently compared to the more contemporary Valentine’s Day. In contrast to the Greek and Roman gods Eros and Cupid, the Dragobete of legend was the patron saint of love, birds, and spring. Neither did he directly intervene in human affairs; instead, he reminded people to continue celebrating love.
In accordance with Romanian tradition, it is essential to observe Dragobete in order to remain healthy for the remainder of the year. It is traditionally celebrated by village youth going into the woods and gathering flowers such as snowdrops and strawberry flowers. At noon, girls would return to the village while being “chased” by a boy, a custom known as “zburătorit.” If the boy could reach the girl quickly enough and she liked him, she would kiss him in plain view. Therefore, the phrase “Dragobetele saruta fetele” (Dragobete kisses the girls). This kiss signifies the couple’s potential engagement for a year. In a sense, it is a public declaration of affection, through which the entire community learns who is special to whom.
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Enjoy the outdoors and nature
With spring in the air, take advantage of the opportunity to appreciate nature as it blooms and revives after a long winter. Choose an outdoor event or activity, and do it with your significant other in the spirit of Dragobete.
Appreciate your significant other
Dragobete is not commercial or geared towards consumerism, unlike Valentine’s Day. It is not necessary to spend a fortune on red roses or candies. Instead, make your partner feel special by providing them with quality time and attention. There are innumerable ways to make someone feel special by simply personalising things.
Make a bold move
If you’re single and wondering how Dragobete applies to you, don’t despair; it does. According to tradition, if you meet at least one person you like or are attracted to and give them a hug, your romantic prospects will improve. Then why are you still waiting? Invite your crush out on a date. Make the initial move, and Dragobete will handle the rest.
5 INTERESTING DRAGOBETE CULTURES TO EXPERIENCE
In some regions, single women consume bread baked by the eldest woman in the household, place basil under their pillow, and if they are destined to marry within the next year, they dream of their future spouse.
By participating in Dragobete festivities, the following year is protected from illness, particularly a fever.
Wash your face with melted snow to maintain youthful, radiant skin throughout the entire year.
Those who weep or complain on Dragobete Day will have nothing but misery and difficulty in the coming year, so remain content and joyful.
The purple ‘love flower’ plant can indicate whether or not your love is truly eternal… Plant two seeds and observe their growth; if they lean in and touch, you and your partner are doing well.