The Christians in Romania are celebrating Saints Peter and Paul (Sfintii Petru si Pavel) on Thursday, June 29. They are the protectors of prisons in Romania.
The two Saints are the protectors of inmates because these people have wronged God just like the two Saints did: Peter denied Christ while Paul persecuted Christians, according to Crestinortodox.ro
Saints Peter and Paul are celebrated on the same date, June 29, as both died on this day.
According to popular tradition, the fireflies are starting to appear on this day, guiding those who get lost in the woods or in the mountains. These fireflies are believed to represent the sparks of St. Peter's whip. Also, this is the day when the cuckoos go silent.
On Saints Peter and Paul's day, Romanians of Christian faith are giving alms for the dead. Women have to give home cooked food to the neighbors and the poor, as well as clay pots filled with water, so the dead are not hungry or thirsty on the other side, the tradition goes.
In addition to going to church on this day, people should also avoid doing any kind of work around the house or in the field, and they should not do any laundry or throw away the garbage, by tradition.
According to the popular belief, people should not shake the apple trees today, for the fields to be protected from hail. Another belief is that widows shouldn’t eat apples today if they want to be healthy.
In the popular calendar, the Day of Saints Peter and Paul marks the middle of the agricultural summer, and the harvest season.
The day is popularly known as Sanpetru. Stories say that, in the times when the people were very faithful, Sanpetru de Vara walked the Earth, alone or with God. In the popular stories, Sanpetru was a simple man dressed in peasant clothes who mainly liked agriculture and fishing. It is said that, because he was hardworking and very faithful, God took Sanpetru to Heaven, where he entrusted him with the keys and gates of Heaven.
It is also said that, at big holidays such as Christmas, New Year, or Sanziene (the midsummer celebration in Romania), at midnight, when the sky opens for a short moment, Sanpetru can be seen sitting at the royal table, at the right side of God.
Romanians named Petru, Petre, Petruta or Pavel are celebrated on this day.
Irina Marica, [email protected]
(photo source: Crestinortodox.ro)