Dragobete Day - February 24, 2023

Dragobete Day
Last Updated on: 25 Nov 2022

What is Dragobete Day?

The Dragobete holiday is observed in Romania on February 24. On this day, we honor love and also the natural world. Numerous customs are related to the event Dragobete. One's customs vary depending on where they are from and what region one is from

Dragobete is often called the Roman Cupid, associated with Cupid and the god Eros. However, unlike the gods, as mentioned earlier, of love and affection, Dragobete was different.

He didn't intervene or react to mortal affairs directly. Instead of making people fall in love and shooting arrows, he chooses to remind humans instead to never give up on love and celebrate love.

Giving gifts to partners and other loved ones as a token of appreciation is one of the most common ways Romanians show their affection.

Romania is a customary nation, so the day is the subject of many superstitions there. Some cultures believe that eating salty baked goods will bring women good fortune. The dish must also be prepared by the family member with the most cooking expertise.

Putting a sprig or two of basil under each person's pillow is another one of those traditions. It is thought that they dream of the husbands they will one day wed.

A custom also involves washing oneself, mainly the face, with snow. It is intended to result in happiness and good health.

While these customs might seem strange or overwhelming, they make the day unique for Romanians. They see them as celebrating love in a wholly authentically Romanian way.

Countries That Observe Dragobete?

Mainly the country of Romania celebrates and observes Dragobete, while the rest of the world celebrates the day as Valentine's Day.

Legend and the History Of Dragobete

Dragobete Day

According to the local Romanian legend, the young god Dragobete was the son of Baba Dochia. She was the daughter of king Decebalus, the last king of Dacia.

Dragobete was also known by the name Dragomir. He was thought to bear the resemblance of both a man and an angel and was considered immortal. He was linked to fertility and revitalization of nature as he was often linked as an omen indicating spring was upcoming. 

Written records of the Lupercalia festival, observed on February 15 every year in ancient Rome, dating back to 600 B.C. The Roman god of fertility and birth, Lupercus, was the subject of this festival.

The Dragobete Day celebration is most likely a combination of Dacian and Roman traditions. Dragobete is frequently regarded as a similar substitute to the more modern holiday of Valentine's Day.

Valentine is thought to have been executed between 201 and 300 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Claudius II for officiating secret weddings for Christian couples. When the Catholic Church declared Saint Valentine a saint and started commemorating his death anniversary on February 14, they are credited with creating Valentine's Day. 

The local custom required that young women who were not yet married write love letters and place them in a large urn during this festival, known for its high levels of violence and anarchy. The man who had chosen her note randomly would then start courting that girl.

Additionally, 

How to Celebrate Dragobete Traditionally?

In Romania, Dragobete Day is widely observed as a day for love. They have planned traditions in which you can take part regardless if you are single or in a relationship. Couples of all ages are welcome to participate and express their affection for one another. But the majority of their ceremonies are for single people.

It is thought that any individual may find their soul mate by participating in these activities and embracing the tradition.

Boys and girls are initially supposed to gather at the neighborhood church dressed in fancy clothes. They would disperse throughout the woods, gather various flowers, and create bouquets.

They consider these flowers to be magical. The bouquets will then be submerged in water by the boys. After that, they start their search for a partner.

The girls will then recite magical poems while using the magic water to wash their hair. They are required to kiss if they like if they each other, and the boy is successful in catching the girl. Later, while the boys try to chase the girls they want, all the girls will flee back to the village. 

Some girls will congregate in the woods and begin singing in unison.

The maiden gathers snow for the villagers as that is going on. Later, they'll use it as water. Afterwards, everyone will gather around a bonfire on a hill close to the village and talk until dawn.   

Romanian villages with more individualized traditions. Boys and girls make a cross out of a small portion of their forearms. Then their lines will converge, making them blood siblings.

The ceremony also includes hugs, kisses, and loyalty oaths. Additionally, those who are adopted as siblings must cook a meal for one another. 

Interesting Facts About Dragobete

  • Dragobete was often considered to be the patron saint for birds.
  • Sometimes, the holiday is observed on February 29 rather than February 28.
  • Those among the boys who manage to collect strawberry flowers are considered to be lucky.
  • "Dragobetele sărută fetele" means Dragobete kisses the girls.
  • Crying or pessimistically about Dragobete brings misfortune and sorrow in the upcoming year.
  • Celebrating Dragobete supposedly wards off any sickness for the upcoming year.
  • It is widely believed that single women would dream about their future husbands on Dragobete if they are destined to be married in the following year.
  • Many couples plant two seeds of the purple love flower plant. And if the seeds grow up and touch each other, then it means that the couple's love will be long-lasting.
  • There is a tradition in some villages where non-biologically related boys and girls would become "blood siblings." It involves cutting one's forearm in a cross pattern and drawing blood. Next, the individuals who wish to become siblings would touch the crosses and overlap them, thus mixing the blood, which symbolizes becoming blood-related. It also sometimes involves speeches and statements declaring loyalty and love towards the other, hugging and kissing, followed by a grand feast to celebrate.

Conclusion

Dragobete is genuinely a fantastic event. I would place it above Valentine's Day because it has this nice and refreshing feel to it that Valentine's Day lacks. But regardless of whether it is Dragobete or Valentine's day, every day should be a day to celebrate love, as it is magical and eternal. 

Dragobete Day Observances

Year Weekday Date Name
2021 Wednesday 24 February Dragobete Day
2022 Thursday 24 February Dragobete Day
2023 Friday 24 February Dragobete Day
2024 Saturday 24 February Dragobete Day
2025 Monday 24 February Dragobete Day
2026 Tuesday 24 February Dragobete Day

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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