The preparations for the big holiday reach their climax three days before Christmas and especially on the Christmas Eve, when the cakes and sarmale (minced meat wrapped in cabbage leaves) and all the food is being cooked and the houses are being decorated. Now it's also the time when women bake the stolnic, large, beautiful bread, full of significances for the traditional customs of this period. The stolnic is put on the table and is kept there, untouched, until the New Year. On the evening of December 24th, after the Litie (the religious service), all families gather around the table for having Christmas Dinner. Soon, the carol singers will be heard. They go from house to house singing and shouting, with cetere (violins), zongore (guitars), and dobe (drums). When they arrive at their host's gate, they ask: "Slobodu-i a corinda (colinda)?" ("May we sing carols?") and the host answers: "Slobod!" ("Yes, you may!"). After the first carols, they are let inside and offered food and drinks as a reward. On the Christmas Eve, young men also play Capra, Steaua, Irozii and the Viflaim (specific popular dramas).
Lights are kept on all night long and there is no house without carol singers. For the tourists, Christmas spent in Maramures is something that can never be forgotten.
20 Dec Christmas in Maramures
24 Dec Christmas
27 Dec Winter Customs and Traditions Festival - Sighetu-Marmatiei
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