Best time to visit Romania

Carol Singing in Romania

Kids and adults sing and dance with the Holy Star, drum dubasi, and even the playful goat Carpa joins Colindatul

Best time: December 24–December 25

Carol Singing
Carol Singing
Carol Singing
Carol Singing
Carol Singing

As Christmas come to Romania, the whole country sings carols and greets each other with the festive "Crăciun Fericit" meaning "Merry Christmas." Carol singing is known as "Colindatul." Traditionally Romanian carol singers disguise themselves in themed costumes and often wear masks. One of the main characters is a goat called "Capra" who also sings, jumps, and dances with the rest. The main attribute of carol singers is a huge star with a picture in the middle depicting the nativity of small Jesus. The youngest carol singers go from house to house and bring good news and receive some small presents, including traditional sweet bread called "colaci" and money. Adults also sing carols, but mainly on the next day. Another Christmas tradition is called "dubasi," a group of 50 to 60 bachelors who entertain people in the streets playing drums, violin, and often also saxophone.

Practical info

When is Colindatul celebrated in Romania?

Colindatul, a Romanian tradition of singing and dancing during Christmas, is celebrated in Romania. Men, women, and children all participate in this activity, travelling to different houses. As part of the tradition, the youngest carol singers go from house to house to bring good news and receive small presents. Carol singers often dress up in costumes, including masks, and carry the Holy Star and drum dubasi. Traditional sweet bread and money are given as gifts as people get together during the festive season. Show more

Which are the best places to witness Colindatul in Romania?

Colindatul is a celebrated Romanian tradition practised throughout the country. To witness some of the most authentic Colindatul experiences, travellers can visit the rural areas of Maramureș. Where traditions have been relatively untouched. Alternatively, Săpânța, Budești, Cluj-Napoca, Bucharest, and Sighișoara are cities that offer visitors quality Colindatul performances. It is an enriching experience with colourful costumes, masked dancers, young and old vocalists, and musical instruments such as the Holy Star and the drum dubasi. Show more

What is the importance of Carpa, the goat in Colindatul?

Carpa is a goat that represents evil in Colindatul, a traditional Romanian festival celebrated during Christmas. Singing carols can allegedly drive away the symbolic evil animal. Carpa is sometimes one of the characters in the Colindatul choir, hop and dancing alongside the other singers. The costumes worn during Colindatul festivities vary from region to region, with typical features such as masks, hats decorated with dough, tinsel, and colourful ribbons. Show more

What do the youngest carol singers receive, and when do they visit houses?

During the Christmas season, the youngest carol singers in Romania will visit different houses singing carols and receiving traditional sweet bread called colaci, money, and other small presents. This tradition, centuries old, has come to represent an integral part of Romanian culture and rural life. It is a time when communities come together and share their joys. The act of receiving gifts is considered a sign of goodwill as people rejoice in each other's company. Show more

Where can one seek out the dubasi group, and what instruments do they play?

The Romanian tradition of Dubasi involves the performances of a group of bachelors, ranging from 50 to 60 members, who entertain people in the streets during the Christmas season. Although this group of Winter travellers play various instruments, including drums, violin, and saxophone, they are most famous for playing the drum dubasi. The Dubasi group is a customary feature of Romanian Christmas festivities found in all towns and cities. Nonetheless, the best part of this group and the related performances are heavily concentrated in the northern areas of Maramureș and Bucovina. Show more

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