Romanian traditions & superstitions on the day of St. Dumitru, the protector of shepherds

Christian Romanians celebrate Saint Dumitru today, October 26, this being one of the most important religious holidays of the fall.

In Romania, Saint Dumitru is considered the patron of shepherds. Moreover, on this day, the shepherds find out how the weather will be in the coming winter. If Saint George locks the winter and turns the nature green, Saint Dumitru dries the plants, announcing the winter.

Many traditions related to this day have survived for centuries in Romania, with the most notable being the Fire of Sumedru. On the night before the feast day of Saint Dumitru, the Romanians who still keep this tradition light big fires on the hills or in their gardens. It is believed that the children who jump over these fires will be healthy, while the young people who do the same will get married.

This fire is also said to drive out the beasts, bring health to the cattle, and keep the dead warm over the winter.

On the day of Saint Dumitru, the shepherds have their special way of finding how the coming winter will be like. They place their sheepskin coats in the middle of the sheep flock and wait to see which of the animals sits on it. If a black sheep sits on the coat that means that the winter will be good. However, if a white sheep decides to rest on the coat, the winter will be harsh.

Another way of knowing how the winter will be like, according to old Romanian beliefs, also has something to do with the sheep. Thus, if a white sheep is the first to wake up and go south, this means that the winter will be harsh. If a black sheep wakes up and goes north, then the winter will be easy.

Another popular tradition says the winter will be mild if the weather is bad on the day of Saint Dumitru, and that a harsh winter will follow if this day comes with good weather.

The Romanians named Dumitru or Dumitra are being celebrated on the day of Saint Dumitru.

Saint Dimitrie the New, the patron of Bucharest, is celebrated the following day, on October 27. Thousands of pilgrims are expected to come to Bucharest until October 29 to attend the religious ceremonies organized to celebrate Saint Dimitrie the New.

Irina Marica, [email protected]

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