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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lady’s Bedstraw: Midsummer in Romania


The celebration of Sanzeine, like other midsummer festivities in Eastern Europe, puts the focus where it should be—on beautiful young women and flowers.


image

Gypsy maidens” carry crowns of flowers and grasses to a lake near Bucharest, Romania, to launch for Sanzeine.

Photo: Radu Sigheti, for Reuters

Calling all Romanian virgins!

Actually, we’re a mite bit tardy. Sorry. The Sanzeine celebration was a few nights ago. This old pagan custom of midsummer involves such delights as husband-predicting, fairy dancing, heavens’ opening and—the one that sounds the most fun to us – lighting a hay bale on fire and rolling it down a hill. (Don’t you dare try it, Texans! We’re under a burn ban, you know.)

Sanzeine also involves concerted flower picking, of Lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum) to be precise. We find it interesting that this flower is the same bright yellow as St. John’s Wort, and June 24th is St. John’s Day, too, another dancing occasion, often accompanied with flowers and fire.


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Posted by Julie on 06/28 at 10:53 PM
Culture & SocietyGardening & LandscapeSecular CustomsPermalink