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Valentine’s Day or Dragobete?


Dragobete, in the Romanian traditions, is the son of Baba Dochia and is celebrated on February 24th as a day of love, just like Valentine’s Day, this day being identified with the awakening of all the living creatures with the coming of spring.

Dragobete has something of every universal symbol of beauty and love (Eros, Cupid, or St. Valentine), embodying a handsome and bearded man, hence the saying “Dragobetele sărută fetele” (“Dragobete kisses the girls.”) In the old Dacians, Dragobete was the animal friend and the one who helped each one to find the pair.

Nowadays, Dragobete is believed to keep you from illness, and makes the year abound for the one who celebrates it.

There are many customs that are respected on this day, depending on the area where it is celebrated. In Mehedinti county it was the habit of “zburătoritul (“the flying”), the girls had to run and the boys to catch them and kiss them. In other places, animals are not cut this day to let them mate, and the women have to touch a man from another village to be loved all year. The girls gathered the winter snow, called “zăpada zânelor” (“the snow of the fairies,”) which they then used for beauty and love delight.

One of the traditions says that Dragobete was transformed into a weed named Năvalnic” (“Heady”), because it tried to make to fall in love even the Precisive Mother.

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