Christmas in Bukovina is the festivity that has hardly changed for centuries. Nowhere do you meet so many original Romanian Christmas customs like there.
In the middle of Christmas, for example, all borrowed things are returned, because it brings misfortune to own borrowed things in the winter holidays.
On the morning of the 24th of December, the women walk with dough on their hands in the orchard, picking up each tree and saying, “As my hands are full of dough, your branches shall be full of fruit in spring”. On Christmas Eve some women take their spindles in front of the fork and hide them, others put a stone in the oven. This custom is meant to keep the snakes out of the house.
There are still villages in Bukovina, where groups of children in traditional costumes ride on horses through the village. At the front doors they get apples, walnuts, cake or even some money.
The centuries-old recipes for Christmas biscuits in Bukovina are handed down from generation to generation and are an important family treasure. Everyone is proud of their recipe and all the cookies taste a bit different. Previously bouquets of basil, lavender or mint were hung in various places in the house. This should bring good luck and perfume the rooms soothing. Today, this custom has been replaced by bright light installations and various Christmas decorations: tinsel, white foam for painting windows, fairy lights and stained glass create the festive atmosphere.
On the evening of December 24, the Christmas tree is decorated and the housewives prepare traditional delicacies: smoked sausage, smoked bacon, ham and various other dishes from the meat of a freshly slaughtered piglet. In addition, there is zama (soup), sarmale (cabbage), beef salad, steak, horseradish salad, beetroot and of course freshly baked, homemade bread. For dessert, there are cakes in the form of cornflowers, filled with walnut and cocoa cream.