Well, today is Dragobete, a holiday that kinda, sorta exists in Romania (and RM) and kinda not.
If you read the English-language link above, you’ll get a nice clean story about how it’s sorta, kinda the local equivalent of Valentine’s Day and that Dragobete was the son of an important character in Romanian folklore. All that is true but, as my wife constantly educates me, there is a deeper literary history to Dragobete as well that I won’t go into today.
What’s really essential to realize is just how important spring mating rituals used to be in rural Romania (and RM). It’s only just now, in the magical sci-fi year of 2016, that the majority of people are living in cities where they can meet potential mates at any time. Traditionally though, most of the people lived in small communities that required some way of introducing young marriageable women to marriageable men.
Spring is the perfect time. With the winter snows melting, the roads become passable again and there is a relative amount of free time before the hard work of planting, other farm duties, and moving livestock out of the barns and into the fields begins. Whatever the exact traditional and literary history of Dragobete, you only have to open your window to realize that the weather is perfect right now to go outside and go indulge in some sexy, flirty activities with an eligible mate :P
Since the 1989 Revolution, there’s been a revival in Romania of celebrating Dragobete as a way to push back against the dissipation of traditional culture in the face of a tsunami of Western (American) influences like Valentine’s Day, which itself transformed from a minor Catholic religious holiday into a day to celebrate romantic love thanks to one of the all-time coolest guys in history, Geoffrey Chaucer.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!