Epiphany (Boboteaza)



The Romanian Epiphany, or "Boboteaza" which comes from the word "botez" (Baptism), closes the cycle of winter holidays. It is celebrated on January 6th and recalls the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River. All Romanians go to church to get holy water which, according to tradition, is required for purification and healing.

On the eve of the Epiphany is a day of abstinence. One prepare a table similar to that of Christmas Eve with simple traditional food wheat cake, mushrooms, fish, beans, prunes in syrup, "sarmale" Lenten-style cabbage leaves stuffed with vegetables and cereals, and wine. After midnight, when the abstinence is over, we add other foods such as meat and eggs .   Nobody touches the food until the priest blesses the food and the house with holy water in the morning after the liturgy. The priest's arrival is heralded by the children and neighbors who yell "QUIRALEISA" ("God have mercy on us").  The family receives the priest with a burning candle and embraces the priest's cross.  After the ceremony, the priest is invited to taste the food.   In the evening is"colindatorii", the 'a capella' singing of hymns.

On the morning of the Epiphany everyone goes to church with a candle, a sprig of basil and a beautifully-decorated pitcher tin which hey will receive holy water. After the ceremony at the church, the priest will bless water from wells or other water source. People then return home shouting "QUIRALEISA" during the entire journey. Before lunch, each person drinks a sip of holy water.


Waiting to receive holy water at the church

The pitcher for holy water
The ceremony of the blessing of water at the church


Boboteaza 2012
During the ceremony of the blessing of water at the church
The priest blesses water from the people's wells


Updated 05/06/17

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