4. Where Magic begins: Sanziana’s Night

A well known ancient believe is “Sanziana’s Night”. It is the night of summer fire, one of the most spectacular celebrations in Romania, where young men light fires, especially on mountaintops, dancing and leaping over the flames and other ancients customs that differs from one region to another.

This celebration is set on the 24th of June. Although they are associated to the Christian celebration of St Joan the Baptist’s birth, Sanziana’s night has its origin in an ancient sun worship cult. The name may be changed from goddess Diana (zeita Diana). It marks the beginning of summer, as on the 21st of June it is the summer solstice, when the day is the longest and the night is the shortest. It is the time when the two parallel worlds emerge and many magical things may happen.

Legend says that Sanzianas are beautiful fairies that live in the forests and on the fields and can be seen dancing in circle. According to tradition they fly with the wind, sing and dance, breed animals and heal the sick. They are good fairies but can do also bad if people don’t respect them.

One of the customs is that on the morning of Sanziana’s day, before the sun comes up, you would pick flowers of Lady’s Bedstraw, make a crown, and throw it over the roof. If the crown gets stuck on the roof you would have a long life. Also, as a young girl, if you would put a bouquet of Sanziana’s flowers under the pillow, in the nights before the celebration, you would dream the man you will marry.

There are many traditions and superstitions surrounding this special day.

24th of July is a good occasion to visit Romania, and to enjoy the celebration in a traditional village where you can find all there is to know about it…and even more, who knows.

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