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.
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.
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.
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.