Almost every day in the Romanian calendar coincides with a celebration, a holiday or a festival. There are many types of events that the Romanians observe with sanctity, be them cultural, historical or religious. The rich heritage of the Romanian people materializes in national or local festivals, public holidays and unofficial ones, some of them true representations of our culture. From film festivals to music contests and national celebrations, there is a wide range of events that you should participate to if you come to Romania. Here is a list of the most important days and public holidays:
Statutory public holidays
Statutory public holidays are official non-working holidays for all employees, both in the private and in the public sector. During these national holidays, most of the companies, banks, museums, as well as many shopping centres and restaurants are closed.
New Year’s Day (Revelion) – January 1st and 2nd
The Romanians pompously celebrate the New Year’s Eve night in restaurants or clubs, usually in a mountain resort, while the older generations prefer a prolonged, but quieter family dinner. The party starts the evening before the New Year (December 31st) and lasts until the dawn breaks. At the stroke of midnight, the New Year is welcomed with champagne and fireworks. In the last years it has become popular to have a similar party (sometimes called a carnival) in the night between January 1st and 2nd.
Orthodox Easter Monday (Paște) – in April or May
Easter is the biggest and most important Orthodox feast day. People usually go to church for the Easter service and return home holding lighted candles. The Easter Day is the perfect occasion for a family lunch or dinner where people knock red eggs and eat lamb meat, drob and cozonac. In some areas where traditions have been kept alive, such as Maramureș, you should not miss the numerous traditional Easter preparations and rituals.
Labour Day (Ziua Muncii) – May 1st
On May 1st, Romanians celebrate the International Workers’ Day. Depending on the weather, people spend the holiday picnicking or going to the seaside.
Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday (Rusalii) – in May or June
On Pentecost, Romanians celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples of Christ after the Resurrection.
Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God (Adormirea Maicii Domnului) – August 15th
The Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God is one of the most important feasts in the Orthodox calendar. Big processions and pilgrimages take place at Moisei in Maramureș, Nicula in Transylvania and Putna in Moldavia, gathering thousands of people. As St Mary is also the patron saint of the Navy, the holiday corresponds with the Day of the Romanian Naval Forces (or Navy Day).
Romanian National Day (Ziua Naționala a României) – December 1st
During this day, Romanians commemorate the union of Transylvania with Moldavia and Wallachia, proclaimed in 1918 in Alba Iulia. This city, also known as the Union city, is the place where officials gather every year to lay flowers and wreaths at the statue of Michael the Brave (Mihai Viteazul) and to attend military parades.
Christmas (Crăciun) – December 25th and 26th
Christmas is the second most important religious feast in Romania. A whole week before Christmas, groups of carollers go from house to house, announcing the birth of Jesus. People decorate the Christmas tree and give presents to one another on the Christmas’ Eve (Ajunul Crăciunului). The delicious Christmas dinner comes after the 40 days’ Christmas fast and includes a wide selection of pork meat, prepared in different ways.
Non – statutory public holidays
Non-statutory holidays are national or international important days celebrated by Romanians. They are working days, during which all the institutions have normal operation hours.
Unification Day (Ziua Unirii) – January 24th
Romanians celebrate the 1859 political union between Wallachia and Moldavia under Alexandru Ioan Cuza, considered to be the foundation of modern Romania.
Women’s Day (Ziua Femeii) – March 8th
Men usually give symbolic presents to the important women in their lives.
Child’s Day (Ziua Copilului) – June 1st
Child’s Day is an international celebration during which certain events are organized in honour of children. In Romania there are frequent asphalt drawing competitions among children from different kindergartens.
National Anthem Day (Ziua Imnului Național) – July 29th
The Romanian anthem, “Deşteaptă-te, române!”, was first performed in 1848. Forbidden by the communists, it was chosen as Romania’s National Anthem immediately after the 1989 Revolution.
Constitution Day (Ziua Constituției) – December 8th
Romania’s current Constitution was adopted on November 21st 1991 and came into force after its approval by the national referendum that took place on December 8th 1991.