New Year’s customs: sowing and sorcova

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On New Year’s Eve, in the night of the New Year or in the New Year’s morning in the traditional popular culture is practiced a custom called “sowing time”.

Children, lads or men are participating in. Each and everyone has in his pocket a handful of rice, wheat, rye or corn for sowing. They say the verses of a folk poem about sowing and there is a belief that householder will benefit in that year from some male or female off-springs’ birth, but also of male or female animals born in his courtyard. The children are called “sowers”. Only handsome, healthy lads are accepted to the households with lasses.

Seeds are thrown inside the house, over the people, and after “sowing” no one sweeps the house. The custom of going with the “sorcova” is a New Year’s Day tradition, the group of girls and boys carolling from home to home and congratulating the hosts, one of them kicking softly with the “in bloom” branch the shoulder of the ones congratulated, wishing them health, prosperity and good luck in everything for the new year.

Sorcova is a fir tree or an artificial branch of different colours, decorated with flowers, ribbons and tinsel. The green branch carried by the carolers symbolizes life, youth and happiness. There is a belief that if the one who enters the first into the house to carol someone is a boy, the one is lucky for the rest of the year. In some villages, lads and girls go with the sorcova, dressed up in traditional clothes, wearing an adorned small tree, symbol of life and youth.

The folklorists say that “Sorcova” is present all around Europe and there are a lot of amazing analogies with the Romanian tradition, of sharing green branches at the January calends, so that the people enjoy health and happiness the yearlong.

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