Romanian Food, Fun Facts, Festivals, and More!

Romanian Culture


Romanian food is amazing, it is simply impossible not to find something you will adore.

Mici-little sausage shaped meatballs made of pork, mutton and beef.  You can serve them with mustard and fries.

Boeuf salad (Salata Boeuf)

 This salad is served on Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  It contains potatoes, carrots, chicken meat , parsnip, mustard, salt and piper.  All the ingredients are boiled and cut in cube shapes.  We add home mayonnaise.  You can decorate it with olives and carrots.

Ciorba – represents the Romanian sour soup: ciorba radauteana (vegetables, chicken and cream), ciorba de perisoare (vegetables and pork meatballs), ciorba de vacuta (made with beef).

Drob de miel – has the form of a cake.  It is made from lamb’s organs.

Pork Jelly (Racitura de porc)

This Romanian dish is popular around the winter holidays.  People use  pork trotters, rind, ears or feet because they have a lot of natural gelatin.

Sarmale – cabbage or vine leaves stuffed with mince and rice.  Romanian people eat sarmale with mamaliga (made of cornmeal).  We generally serve them on Christmas or New Year’s Eve.

Ciolan afumat – smoked pork knuckle served with beans and red onion.

Tochitura moldoveneasca (Moldavian stew)

It contains pork meat, sausages, eggs, cheese and polenta.  You can serve it with onion.

 Chiftelute (Meatballs)

They are made of pork or chicken meat, eggs, onion, garlic, carrots and potatoes.  In case you are a vegetarien, you can eat mushroom balls.

Papanasi – cottage cheese donuts, topped with sour cream, chocolate or fruit preserve

Cozonac – sweet bread with raisins, nut people prepare on Easter, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.

Pasca – Easter pie with raisins, sweet cheese and cream

Placinte “poale-n brau” (Poale-n brau pies)

They are made with sweet cheese and cream.

2.Popular clothes

It is important to understand that the Romanian traditional costume has remained unchanged over the centuries.  Some elements of the costume differ from one region to another.

Ie – represents the basic piece of the costume both for men and women.  It is a shirt made from wool, hemp or linen. The shirt is tied round the waist with a kind of belt called brau.


The traditional clothing includes a white shirt (ie), a straight apron (catrinta) in different colors, sizes.  The decoration style and arrangement may vary from one region to another.  Furthermore, Romanian women wear basmale, which are squares of fabric woven in cotton, silk or wool, decorated with embroidery. Basmalele are most of the cases folded in half diagonally and worn by women to cover their heads, by tying them at the back, or under the chin.


The traditional clothing includes a white shirt (ie), white trousers, a hat, a belt, waistcoat or overcoat.  

 Opinci– represent leather peasant sandals.

3.Romanian  Festivals, holidays, Celebrations

Dragobete: this is Romania’s version of Valentine’s Day.  We celebrate it on February 24th.  Dragobete represents a local Cupid.

Martisorul- we celebrate the beginning of spring on March 1st.  Martisor comes from the name of the month Martie (March).  Martisorul is a red and white string from which a small decoration is tied we offer to our friends, colleagues, relatives.  This talisman brings good luck.


This is one of the most important holidays Romanian people have.  The night before Easter people go to church and bring the Sacred Light.  They light their candles from the sacred light of the priests.  The light symbolizes peace and good luck.  Moreover, people paint the eggs in different colors (mostly in red which symbolizes the color of Jesus’ blood).  People use leaves of onion in order to create different models on the eggs.


 This represents the most popular holiday Romanian people celebrate between 24th December to 27th December.  We celebrate the birth of Jesus by singing carols:  “In Vitleem town”, “Today Christ is borne”, “The three magicians from East”. The Christmas meal is special.  We have many pork specialties: “racitura” (from pork trotters), “toba”, “caltabos”, sausages , “sarmale”.  Santa Clause is also coming.  On December 6th there is Saint Nicolas’ Day.  Saint Nicolas represents the messenger of the winter holidays.  The legend says that Saint Nicolas comes the night before 6 th December and he puts sweets, fruits and small gifts in childrens’ boots.  Saint Nicolas is considered to be the cousin of Santa Clause.

Christmas is not all about carols.  Romanians have also a magnificent custom.  They go with the Star in order to remind people about the star which, hundreds and hundreds of years ago symbolized Jesus Christ’s birth.  That star helped the three magicians find the way to the house where He was born.  Romanians make a star of coloured glossy paper which children carry in the evening of Christmas from house to house, singing a recitative:
The Star is rising high,
Like a hidden mystery,
The Star shines brightly,
And to the world announces,
That today the pure,
The immaculate Virgin Mary,
Gives birth to Messiah,
In that famous city,
Known by the name of Bethlehem.

New Year’s Eve

On the New Year’s Eve children have small bells and sing different songs wishing people a happy new year.  In return, they get apples, pies and money.  The next morning they use a “sorcova”, which is a bouquet of colored paper flowers to wish people good luck in the New Year, health and richness.  When children finish singing Sorcova, they throw some rice.  This symbolizes good-luck.  Hre is a part of Sorcova:

the merry sorcova,
Long may you live
To a hoary old age,
Long may you flourish,
Like pear trees,
Like apple trees,
In midsummer.”

In the big cities there are so many parties, concerts.

Medieval Festival – takes place in August at Sibiu, a famous city from Romania.  Sibiu was declared the cultural capital of Europe in 2007.  You have the chance to admire knights and princesses, musicians and dancers.

The Maidens Fair on Mount Gaina takes place on the closest Sunday to the 20th of July.  The main idea is that the families with marriageable girls meet the families with boys and arrange potential weddings.  People wear national costumes, sing, dance and, why not… fall in love.

4.Famous Romanian Stories and Legends

 Count Dracula’s Legend – has been inspired from the life of a real Romanian prince Vlad Tepes (the Impaler).  He was also named Vlad Dracul (Devil).  He was cruel with his enemies.  Moreover, in order to eliminate corruption and steels from the country, Vlad Tepes (named Dracula by his enemies) used strange methods of punishing them, like the impaling.  Legend said that everyone was so afraid not to be punished that on the road all fountains had gold cups and nobody dared to steel them.  These days, Romania is known all over the world like Dracula’s country.  Anyway, Vlad Tepes has nothing to do with Dracula movies with vampires.

Manole’s Legend (The Supreme Sacrifice)

 The legend tells that a team of ten workers supervised by Master Manole wanted to build a monastery (Curtea de Arges Monastery).  What they were bulding during the day was destroyed at night.  Manole had to immure his living wife in the church’s walls.  This was the supreme sacrifice for creation.

Salt in Dishes (Sarea in bucate) – Romanian fairy tale

Once upon a time there lived a king who had three daughters.  One day, the king asked the oldest daughter: “How much do you love me?” “Father, I love you like honey”, she replied.  The second girl answered “Like sugar, father”.  The youngest girl said: “Like salt in dishes, father!”.  The king was extremely angry.  The youngest girl had to leave the palace because her father did not understand that salt was as precious as sugar and honey.  The king’s daughter worked as a servant at another palace.  She was hardworking, honest and extremely beautiful.  The prince from the castle decided to marry her.  At the wedding, they invited the girl’s father.  All the wedding attendants thought that the meal was excellent, except the bride’s father.  The youngest daughter used only sugar and honey for her father’s meal.  No salt at all.  He finally realized that salt is extremely important.

Romanian Fairy Tales Characters

Iele – mythological Romanian characters similar to fairies.  They have supernatural powers.  Ielele are beautiful young virgins who show up in groups of 12.  They are dressed in white and wear flowers in their hair.  In case you upset them, ielele start singing and you will be charmed by their song.  They will start dancing around their “victim” and curse him or her.

Ileana Cosanzeana

Represents the Romanian beauty from fairy tales.She has a very long blonde hair.  She defeats the evil forces and she eliminates all the obstacles from her way only  because she is very brave, smart, modest and honest.

5.Children’s Game



3 to 6 children can play this game.  An alphabet letter is chosen and from that you start writing names of cities, countries, mountains, etc.  Who finishes first the list may say STOP playing.  Each answer gets a score.  In case you have not written anything, your score is 0.  The children who mentioned correct and different names obtain10 points for each category. (countries with F France and Finland).  If two persons provide identical answers, they get 5 points.  (two children write France, for example).This is a game based on geography.

6.Romanian verbal and nonverbal communication


Buna, Salut for the American Hello, Hi

Buna dimineata – Good Morning

Buna ziua – Hello in the middle of the day

–  Good afternoon, after the middle of the day

Buna seara- Good evening

Noapte buna- Good night 

Romanian people are extremely friendly and expressive when they talk.  They are Latin, therefore they are not cold persons.  They are comfortable with hugs and kisses on the cheek when greeting or departing.  During conversations Romanian people use a lot of gestures, touch themselves on the arms, shoulders, hands and stand pretty closely to each other.  Hospitality characterizes the Romanian people.  They simply adore having guests.  Moreover, direct eye contact is appreciated in Romania.

Handshaking is the most popular form of greeting. When a Romanian man is introduced to a woman, he will probably kiss her hand.  Romanians smile every time they meet their friends or colleagues on the street.

It is not considered impolite to discuss with a person about politics, weight, income, or religion.

If you are going to pay a visit to a friend, it is common to offer a small gift: flowers (in odd number) or some chocolate.

7. Romanian values

Family represents an important Romanian value.  In fact, Romania is a family-focused society.  Romanians appreciate the long term relations based on trust, respect and loyalty.  These are attributes they learn to appreciate early in their childhood.

Religion plays an important role in the life of the Romanian people.  Most of them are members of the Orthodox Church.  Their religion was suppressed for more than 20 years under communism (Nicolae Ceausescu’s dictatorship).  Even so, the Romanian persons have not forgotten to pray and hope.


Romanian persons are proud of their country, customs, history, national heritage and heroes.  They respect their past.  Even if some of them work outside the country, a part of Romania will always be with them.

8.Romanian customs and habits

Ignat – this habit is about sacrificing a pig on the Ignat day, on 20th of December. It is considered that in the night before, the pig dreams the knife that will sacrifice him.  Moreover, children at countryside are marked with a cross in their foreheads with blood from the pig to be healthy.

Noaptea Sfantului Andrei (Saint Andrew’s Night)

This is the Romanian Halloween.  On 30th of November, there is the night when the ghosts, spirits come to harass us.  In order to avoid this, the Romanian people use to put garlic at their doors and windows.


Romanian people celebrate Sanzienele on June 24th.  It is celebrated nature and fecundity.  Sanzienele were some young girls who offered special powers to some flowers called sanziene.  These flowers protect our house from bad luck and evil.  The night before June 24th, the girls who want to get marry have to put sanziene flowers under their pillow.  They will dream their future husband.

Capra (The goat)

 The Goat dance represents a New Year’s Eve custom.  The Goat dance is a full of vitality dance that symbolizes the death and rebirth of the Goat, the symbol of vegetation.  This dance is played with many masks.

A woodenhead goat is covered with fur.  Moreover, the inferior jaw has to “clatter”.  The cornels may come from a real animal or are generally made of wood.  They are decorated with ribbons, artificial and natural flowers.  The body of the goat is extremely colored.  It is made of carpets, furs, embroidered handkerchiefs.  The Goat does not come alone.  It is accompanied by 6 or 10 persons who dance: the shepherd, the gipsy, devils or doctors.  The Goat jumps, turns round, and bends.

The dance of the Goat expresses the best wishes for the New Year. 

 9.Famous places in Romania

 The Danube Delta – has different lakes and marshes.  You can find here more than 300 species of birds and 45 species of fish.  It is the second largest delta from Europe.

 Bran Castle -it is considered to be Dracula’s castle.  It is situated 30 km far from Brasov.  On Halloween so many American and British tourists visit this castle.  It is one of the most expensive estates in the world.

Peles Castle – one of the most beautiful castles from Europe.    It has more than 170 rooms, but only 10 can be visited by tourists.  The royal residence was built between 1875 and 1883.  King Carol I wanted so much to have a castle in castle in that picturesque landscape.  There are valuable collections of paintings, jewelry, sculptures, carpets, statues, gold and silver dishes in the castle.

Transfagarasanul – this is a road that climbs the Fagaras Mountains (the highest mountains from Romania – Moldoveanu peak 2544 metres).  The road has viaducts, tunnels.  You also have the chance to admire a glacial lake (Balea lake).  There are countless turns, therefore the average speed is maximum 40 km/hour.

Carpathian Mountains (Muntii Carpati)

Represent an extension of the Alps, but they exceed the length of the Alps.  They are divided in 4 groups: Western, Forests, Eastern and Southern.  They are also called the heart of Romania.  The landscape is magnificent: forests, rivers, wild animals, flowers.  You can also find unique shapes of rock.

Bucovina – represents a region in the North of Romania.  It is extremely appreciated by tourists for its monasteries: Sucevita, Moldovita, Voronet, Humor.  The offer of accommodation is varied: pensions, hotels and even rustic farmhouses.

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