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What Happens At These Love Festivals In Eastern Europe?

Is there anything in life more beautiful than love? Probably not, that’s why it makes perfect sense to celebrate it in every opportunity.  You may not have heard of them before, but these are some of the coolest Eastern European love festivals.

The Beauty of Eastern European Love Festivals

From the colorful traditions of each place to their deep roots in religion and folk legends, Eastern European love festivals are so much fun.

Romania

10 days after the Western holiday of love, Valentine’s Day, Romanian’s have their very own traditional celebration of love and fertility: Dragobete. Demi-god Dragobete comes from pagan tales and signals the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature. He was supposedly a very kind man who was chosen by Virgin Mary to be a guardian of love.  Many liken him to the Greek god Eros or the Roman Cupid because his mission is to make sure there is love everywhere.

On the 24th of February, a day that was regarded as the first day of spring and the day birds mate, you’re not supposed to cry because it is considered very bad luck. Men must not annoy women if they want to have a good and loved-up year and everyone should spend the day celebrating and having fun, showing affection and love for each other. Moreover, tradition says that people shouldn’t sew or work, but they may clean their house. It is also forbidden to kill animals, as they also partake in the celebration of love and mating. If you are single you’re supposed to be around friends and hug at least one person of the opposite gender. There are many different traditions in different parts of Romania, all of which are very interesting and have to do with spreading and celebrating love.

The Czech Republic

The Czechs have been celebrating May for centuries. On the first day of the month, They visit their famous romantic poet  Karel Hynek Mácha’s (who wrote a poem named “May”, dedicated to the beautiful spring month) monument in Prague and leave flowers in his memory. On the day, couples are supposed to kiss under a tree – preferably a birch or a blooming cherry tree.  Legend has it that if a girl isn’t kissed, she will wither and perish in a year (there is no evidence this has actually happened, though).

Another tradition related to the 1st of May wants the single men going into the woods on the last evening of April and cutting down a tall tree, whose branches they then remove so that only its top remains. Then they decorate its trunk with flowers and ribbons to create a maypole. They place the maypole in the center of the village square, where it is guarded all night. Some of the men will secretly visit the villages nearby with the aim of stealing their maypoles. Their goal is to steal as many maypoles as they can. Then, on the first Sunday of May, those who manages to guard their maypole from ‘thieves’ go around the village and visit the houses of unmarried girls where they receive small presents as a reward. In the same evening, they all gather to celebrate May in one big ball.

Slovenia

Unlike Western Europe who considers St. Valentine the patron saint of love, Slovenia’s love saint is St. Gregory. Tradition has it that on March 12, St. Gregory’s Day, birds are joined in wedlock. Folk legend has it that when single women look up in the sky on St. Gregory’s day, the first bird they see will have the characteristics of the man they’ll marry.

Estonia

If you happen to be in Estonia on Valentine’s Day, expect to be very pleasantly surprised whether you are in a relationship or not. In Estonia, Valentine’s Day is not only a celebration of romantic love but every kind of love. Therefore, Estonian’s take the opportunity to give presents and show their love and appreciation to any person they love, whether it is in a romantic fashion or not.

People even adorn their houses with ornaments and bright colors, and they invite their loved ones for dinner over at their place. It all makes sense, as St. Valentine is said to have been a person who never hesitated to offer his help and support to those in need.

These Eastern European love festivals may be a fantastic chance to express our love and affection, but we should remember to do so every day, in every opportunity, wherever we are.

If you are interested in reading more articles on Eastern European culture and traveling, click here. For the chance to meet captivating Eastern European ladies (and maybe celebrate the next love festival with one of them), why not visit AnastasiaDate? You can also find our articles on SlideShare.

Third Date Will Make Or Break Your Relationship, Here’s Why

Everyone is so obsessed talking about making a good impression on a first date that very few talk about the second one. Even fewer ever mention the third date at all. But this is one major mistake because the third date is the defining date for your relationship. You may be thinking this is crazy talk, but you’ll see why this all makes perfect sense.

Why Is The Third Date Super Important?

To understand what really makes the third date such a big deal, it’s a good idea to see what goes on in the previous two.

The awkward first encounter.

Think of yourself on your first date. You probably spend the whole night worrying about the impression you’re making. Have you dressed appropriately? Are you asking her the right questions? Is your body language right? There is so much to worry about you don’t even have the chance or the head to learn and remember much about her.

The is-the-chemistry-really-there second date.

And let’s have a look at the second date. You asked her on one, so it means you liked her on the first one and she liked you enough to accept doing it again. This time, you have promised yourself to learn more about her, worry less about yourself and actually make sure that the connection you suspected on the first date really is there. Chances are that she’s doing the exact same thing with you. So, again, there is so much stress that one of you will blow it and the other will have a change of heart and never want to meet again.

The turning point that is the third date.

Now, do you see why the third date is made of gold? Once you’ve made it past the second date, you can actually say that you are officially dating. You will be feeling much more relaxed and get the chance to dig deeper into real things in your life that you just mentioned in the previous two dates, you will have a better conversation as the intimacy will have increased, and you know about the ladies’ “third-date rule”. You may even move things forward with some physical action too. The third date basically establishes the kind of relationship you’ll have. It’s when you will understand whether you are on the same page as far as relationship goals are concerned, and decide for real if you want to go on that journey together.

With relationships analyzed more than ever these days, you will surely find the third date slowly taking its rightful place as the make-or-break, defining moment in people’s relationships.

Got you in the mood for dating? If you want to read more about relationships and dating, you can continue here. For the chance to meet gorgeous Eastern European ladies you may want to date, visit AnastasiaDate. If you want to learn more about the way Anastasiadate keeps safe, click here.

Wet Monday, Rocket War And Leg Whipping: All The Weirdness Of Easter In Eastern Europe

For travelers, Easter is one of the most interesting times of the year to visit a new country. The Eastern European countries are an excellent choice for this time of year, as they largely regard Easter as the most important religious holiday (yes, even more than Christmas), and celebrate it in various interesting ways. Read about the ways Easter in Eastern Europe can be a unique experience.

Celebrating Easter in Eastern Europe

Most of the population in Eastern Europe is either Orthodox or Catholic Christian. Usually, their Easters don’t fall on exactly the same day (as the former follow the Julian calendar and the latter tend to follow the Gregorian), but sometimes they overlap. This is the case this year when both Orthodox and Catholic Easter is celebrated on the 16th of April. Let’s have a look at the fun (and strange) traditions that make Easter in Eastern Europe unique.

Poland And Wet Monday The Polish use the week before Easter to do their spring cleaning. People may decide to paint their houses or barns in the countryside, as this is a time for renewal and rebirth.

On Easter Saturday, they prepare Easter baskets containing a variety of Easter foods: “pisanki” (dyed eggs), some sausage or ham, salt and pepper, bread, butter, a piece of cake and an Easter Lamb made of either sugar or plastic. They are then taken to church in order to be blessed.

The Monday after Easter is called Wet Monday (Śmigus-dyngus). During the whole day, groups of young boys carrying water guns or buckets of water wait to make girls wet while they sing rhymes to them.  Girls exchange the favor the next day, by doing the exact same thing to boys.

Celebrating Easter in Eastern Europe can be a wet business if you're in Poland on Wet Monday.
If you’re a woman in Poland on Wet Monday, expect water to be thrown at you.

Croatia And The Huge Bonfires Croatia is yet another Eastern European country attaching importance to Easter. What is special about it is that the remains of the food Croatians have taken to church for a blessing in special baskets, are either burnt or kept to place in the first furrow when ploughing.

On Easter evening, Croatians make huge bonfires that burn all through the night and scatter their ashes in their fields and gardens in the morning, in the belief they will be made more fertile.

Another amazing way to spend Easter in Eastern Europe is spending all night by a bonfire in Croatia.
The Easter bonfires are kept going all night long in Croatia.

Here, too, it is customary to paint and decorate eggs. What is unique in Croatia, though, is that apart from the red and other brightly colored eggs, people may also paint eggs black. Decorated Easter eggs (“pisanice”) are offered as presents, showing affection and love. They are given to relatives and friends, but there is also something special about them – pisanice are traditionally offered by young men to the girl they like.

Greece And The Rocket War Greeks take Easter very seriously. On Holy Saturday they go to church holding candles that are lit up with the holy fire that travels on a special plane from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where it is believed to light up miraculously every year.

There are various traditions for Easter Sunday, depending on which part of it you’re in. The most impressive is the custom of pot breaking in Corfu, where the resurrection service in the morning is followed by the words “Christós Anésti” (meaning “Christ has risen”) against a background of loudly pealing bells and the joyful sounds of the island’s best philharmonic bands as they parade through the streets. People then hurl clay pots from their balconies and windows, as a symbolism of the way death was beaten when Christ resurrected.

Easter in Eastern Europe can be a little dangerous if you are in Chios during the rocket war.
The famous rocket war taking place in Chios at Easter.

In another island, Chios, the Rocket War traditionally takes place between two rival parish churches, St. Mark and Virgin Mary, located on opposite hillsides about 400m away from one another. On the eve of Easter Sunday, around 70,000 rockets are fired between the two camps with one aim: to hit the bell tower of the opposite church. The weirdest thing about it? All this takes place during the Holy Liturgy when both churches are full.

The Czech Republic And The Leg Whipping. Czech girls pay extra attention to their Easter eggs. That’s because they are meant to give them to boys on Easter Monday. There are many Easter egg decorating techniques and different materials used, such as bee’s wax, straw, watercolors, onion peels, and stickers. The most common designs are geometrical patterns and flowers, but there is really no limit to Czech girls’ creativity.

Men, on the other hand, go caroling on Easter Monday carrying braided pussy-willow twigs (called pomlázka) they use to softly whip girls’ legs. The custom symbolizes youth and health, as the fresh twigs are believed to make those hit with them stay young and healthy.

If you're a woman spending Easter in Eastern Europe, watch your legs if you're in the Czech Republic.
Lightly whipping girls’ legs with a willow stick is good luck in the Czech Republic at Easter.

Bulgaria And The Painted Egg War In Bulgaria, eggs are decorated on the Maundy Thursday. Then, it is customary to hold a big (boiled) egg fight at church, known as the  “choukane s yaitsa”. The person who has the last surviving (uncracked) egg (which is called “borak”, meaning “fighter”) has to keep his egg until next Easter. It is believed that the blessed egg won’t spoil during that time.

If you spend Easter in Eastern Europe, you are very likely to come across a beautifully painted egg.
Decorated egg fights are one of the greatest Easter traditions in Bulgaria.

Russia And The Butter Lamb Russia is considered to be one of the countries that celebrate Easter with great piousness. They also have the traditions of painted eggs and food baskets, as well as some pretty hard to make (but well worth the effort) special Easter cakes.

A strange tradition, however, among the strangest on Easter in Eastern Europe is that of the butter lamb. In Russia, as in other European countries celebrating Easter, the Easter meal is exceptionally rich. Here, however, it is accompanied by a knob of butter that is shaped as a lamb. The tradition dates back to ancient times, when people considered coming across a lamb during these days to be a lucky omen.  Christians take the lamb to be a symbol of their faith and they are certain it can never be Satan in disguise (even though he is believed to take the form of every other animal there is).

If you're celebrating Easter in Eastern Europe, you may come across the Russian butter lamb.
No Easter table is complete in Russia without the butter lamb.

With so many customs and against such a beautiful spring backdrop, not spending Easter in  Eastern Europe would be a sin.

If you enjoyed reading about Easter in Eastern Europe,  go on reading articles about culture and traveling here. For the chance to meet Eastern Europeans girls, why not visit AnastasiaDate? You can also watch our videos on YouTube.

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