New Year’s Eve Celebration
New Year’s Celebration is one of the most ancient holidays and for over four thousand years various most elaborate, attractive and original customs and events are being dedicated to it.
For Babylonians, for instance, the New Year started with the new moon right after the spring equinox and the feasts lasted for 12 days but with a different meaning.
The Romans celebrated the New Year in March. But since in time timing differences appeared in relation to the turning of the Sun, in the year 153 B.C. the Roman senators got together for a debate and decided the New Year to be marked by the 1st of January. Later Julius Caesar tried to instill a correction but nothing changes. This decision lasted until 567 A.D. when the synod of Tour established that the beginning of the New Year be marked by the 1st of January. Generally speaking the present day celebration of New Year’s Eve stays a nocturnal celebration with a lot of unknown habits practiced. The superposition of these celebrations on those pre-Christian ones, Greco-Romans and oriental on the indigenous ones, on Geto-Dacian ones gave birth to spiritual realities unique in Europe which are hard to distinguish. Thus, some believed that the night of passing from one year into another the sky opens up three times and believers spot God sitting at a lighted table nicely decorated next to St. Nicholas.
In some regions of the country the following beliefs are alive: on this night the tombs open up and in order to chase the bad spirits away garlic should be spread on thresholds and window panes or noise should be made; the first person entering a home should be a man; then, one should have money in the wallet in order to be rich all the year round; or melted lead poured in water would show you your future by the form it would take on from cold water.
The goat, the symbol of wealth and luck, plays around in courtyards next to outlaws and other heroes.
People do not borrow any money, they do not sweep or throw garbage away.
Augural time, the night of December 31st puts forth dances with masks, divination, foretelling, and magic. The caroling repertoire is vast. Besides ritual songs such as Plugusor (little plough), Buhai (traditional drum), Capra (goat dance), Ursul (bear dance), there are carols for each category of individuals within the community (old, very young, young, newlyweds, ready to marry, young parents, families without children, etc), for each profession (shepherd, farmer, bucket makers, soldiers), or for specific regions (such as Jiu dwellers). In certain villages, we can find gatherings as large as 100 people of smaller young fellows' crews singing together on the streets (Bukovinan Malanca). In Moldova, the choreography, costumes and ritual dances during the caroling festivities represent a genuine work of art. The texts of the New Year wishes have been changed many times along the years, in some cases they have improved and differ from place to place but still they are “a tribute presented to the emperor Trajan, the conqueror of Dacia”.