The Christians in Romania celebrate the Saints Peter and Paul (Sfintii Petru si Pavel) today, June 29, the two saints who are said to be the protectors of those in prisons who have wronged God, just like they did: Peter denied Christ while Paul persecuted Christians.
Both saints died on June 29. Saint Peter died crucified with his head down in the year 67 while Paul was beheaded at the command of Emperor Nero in the same year.
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.
According to the tradition, on this day the 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.
Also, people should avoid doing any kind of work around the house or in the field today, and they should not do any laundry or throw away the garbage. Moreover, they should not shake the apple trees today, for the fields to be protected from hail.
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.
Hundreds of thousands of Romanians named Petru, Petre, Petruta or Pavel celebrate their name day today.
Irina Marica, [email protected]
(photo source: Crestinortodox.ro)