The Annunciation is a feast with a fixed date, March 25, from which until Christmas, when the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, there are exactly nine months. On the day of the Good Annunciation, the moment is marked when the Virgin Mary of Nazareth, raised in the temple until the age of 15 and then given under the tutelage of Joseph, because her parents had died, was chosen by God to give birth to his son and received notice through the Archangel Gabriel, celebrated on March 26.
The place where it is believed that the Virgin Mary received the news that she would give birth to Jesus is currently occupied by the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, a modern Catholic place of worship, built on the ruins of Byzantine churches from the Crusades. Here is a grotto that can be visited by pilgrims, where the Virgin Mary would have been informed by the Archangel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Savior. The church is decorated with mosaics of the Virgin donated to the church by Christian communities from all over the world, including Romania.
The Annunciation is celebrated every year during Lent, being one of the occasions for which the Church grants release to the fish, no matter what day of the week it falls on.
In some churches, on this day they fast until 5:00 p.m., when the Holy Liturgy takes place. Then, the Christians, who did not eat and went to confession, take communion, after which they eat fish, together with the whole church community.
It is said that the one who tastes this type of Annunciation meat will feel like a fish in water all year round. People also say that fishermen are not allowed to throw polenta into the water, because the fish die.
The Annunciation is believed to bring the swallows, and the cuckoo sings for the first time in the year, that’s why the holiday is also called Cuckoo Day. The bird announces the actual arrival of spring, and its first song must be awaited by all people in clean clothes, cheerful, with full stomachs and money in their pockets. Those who do not meet these conditions will not benefit from all those things in the coming year. If the first song of the cuckoo is heard on an empty stomach, on the left side or behind the person, it is an ominous sign.
On the other hand, according to the custom, the boys and girls asked the cuckoo things that interested them, such as: “Cuckoo voinicule/ How many years will you give me/ Until I marry (marry)?”. The silence of the cuckoo brought great joy to those who asked, because it equated to a hasty marriage, while the singing of the cuckoo brought despair to the young, each voice being counted as a year of waiting.
Tradition also says that, on this day, people are not allowed to argue, because otherwise they will have trouble all year. On the Good News, it is good to put bread and salt on the doorstep, as food for the angels.
In some areas, in order to have rich fruits in the orchards, the trees were “threatened” with the ax and sprinkled with brandy.
In Bucovina, eggs are not hatched on Annunciation, because it is believed that chicks with two heads and four legs could emerge from them.
Also of Good News, the households in Maramureş collect the superfluous things from the yards and set them on fire. The ritual, known as the Night of Fires, is practiced in every house in Maramureş, lasting until after midnight or until dawn.
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