From the monograph of Letca Nouă commune, written by Petre Stoica, we find that, in the past, the villagers practiced a lot of secular customs, habits and holidays, such as: Ant cake, The cry of unmarried girls, Ene Caloiene, Paparudele, Basil bridge, Fescaniele, Călușul , Herod, Plowman, Goat, Vasilca, Sorcova, Evening of St. Basil and St. John.
Talking to the Romanian language and literature teacher, Alexe Petruța Daniela (APD), and to Spălățelu Ioana (SI), a pillar of the community from Letca Nouă, I discovered which of these habits have disappeared and which are still in the commune and I even discovered some new ones.
CĂLUȘUL – The missing habit
APD: On the feast of Pentecost, there were Călușari, Căluș was played. I remember when I was a child coming to the school yard – we lived across the street from the school – and it was fun! I could not wait for Pentecost to come, because they would gather a week before and rehearse for Căluș and we, the children, would come and watch. I was sitting in the school yard on the grass and watching the Călușarii dancing. As we see now on TV, only the people in the village did much better.
SI: We followed them through the village. In the evening they would go down the valley there, and they would put Mutu in the water. That’s where the Gag ended. I know that it was said not to do Pentecost because “it takes you like a Gag”. A trouble is hitting you.
WASHING ON THE FEET – usually gone
SI: The children walked from house to house, the housewives warmed a large cauldron of water in the morning, boiled it, took out a large, coarse soap from the house, picked walnut leaves, put them on the floor and the children went from house to house and washed us. feet. We put our feet on the walnut leaves and they washed us with boiled water, with soap. This was done on the day of Pentecost. Then the milk and rice dishes were divided.
Is it still practiced now?
APD: Divide the rice with milk, but the foot washing and the Gag, no. That’s why I say that some have changed, that as the world modernizes and the older generations disappear, so do the habits. The changes are also good because people have built bigger, more beautiful houses. I also have a big, modern house with radiators, but I miss a stove that I can stick to, lean on and turn on. These are changes. Too bad, I told you, many have disappeared.
THE CAROL – usually preserved
ADP: The caroling is still preserved, the winter holidays. The customs of the winter holidays have not yet completely disappeared.
IROD – usually preserved
ADP: Herod – is a popular theater that is preserved and also unorganized. That is, they pass it on from generation to generation. Show what happened to the crays. And they have a popular theater. With the emperor, with the horses. They build their own wooden swords. The young people talk to each other and form this theater troupe. That seems like a good thing to me
PLOW AND SORCOVA – preserved habits
ADP: The horse plow is also kept. I come on New Year’s Day with the plow, with the horses.
SI: Sorcova is still practiced by children. On New Year’s Eve I come with songs.
EVENING OF SAINT ION AND SAINT VASILE – preserved customs
ADP: In the evening of Saint John and in the evening of the New Year, I come with some songs that I have not heard in other areas. I really haven’t heard them anywhere. Some special songs, I don’t think I’m at Letca Veche either. The children ask “do you welcome us with singing?” and which family wants to receive them, receives them. Like caroling.
SI: Like the Star, but it’s not the star song. I also receive money. They came with a whip and whipped “do you accept us with singing?”. I don’t really come to Steaua with these.
VASILCA – usually preserved
SI: We also have Roma here. The Roma had a custom on New Year’s Eve they came with Vasilca, with a pig’s head adorned with beads, but it was lost.
ANT CAKE – usually lost
SI: On the Thursday before Lăsatului Secului, at Easter, sweet food is eaten. I had a neighbor, Dad Didina Chivuleasa, who said that her husband put the table on the manure and they would go there and put eggs in the pan, with scallops, with these and they would go and eat ants there. They said I was doing this so that the ants wouldn’t come near the house, past these. Give them to the ants. So on the manure, where the manure was collected from the animals in the yard, low tables with thick legs were placed, but the manure was dry. And they sat on the little chairs and ate there.
GOING TO THE CEMETERY WITH DRIED BONES
ADP: On Holy Thursday during Passion Week, people go to the cemetery and I found that in the whole country only in two or three localities this custom is practiced and Letca Nouă is one of them. Going to the cemetery with dry bruises. Bozia is a plant that acts as a fruit with black berries, but is not eaten. Much like the fruits of shock, so is this bosia.
SI: When we were little, children used to say that the dog was mad and that we were not allowed to eat because it poisoned us. It dries in the fall and each woman takes a bundle and puts it well. Put some straw in a bag and cross the fire to the dead and sprinkle with water and burn the bozia, to protect them from snakes.
ADP: I read that there is some purifying fire, but in any case I found it interesting that in other areas it is not like that and that it has been kept for so long. When I was younger and I came home from school, and the whole cemetery was full of burning fires, it was beautiful. We used to make fire in our country so that he wouldn’t come home either.