January 6th and 7th are not only the end of winter time for the Romanians, but are also marked by two great Orthodox holidays combined with traditional customs and traditions.
So on January 6th – The Three Kings Day or Epiphany – river water is sanctified. The consecrated water (Aghiasma Mare) is usually drunk for 7 days in the morning before breakfast. After that, drinking the water is only possible with the permission of a priest.
In some regions of Romania, it is customary to throw crosses of fir wood into the river. Especially courageous men jump into the river and try to get the cross. The winner can look forward to a successful, happy year and best health … if he survives the icy temperature of the water unscathed.
Also for the girls there’s something to win: In some parts of Transylvania, for example. In Maramures, they have to take holy water from the river early in the morning. The girl who comes back first with the water is considered the most industrious for the rest of the year. Young girls also basil themselves under the pillow and dream of their future prince.
Also the 7th January – St. John the Baptist – is celebrated merrily, this time all are named John (Ioan) and Johanna (Ioana) at the start. The bearers of the name in Bukovina put a decorated Christmas tree on the door and then throw a party with musicians. In Transylvania and some parts of Oltenia, those who are called Johannes / Johanna are carried by the neighbors to a river, are baptized and purified.