Although Romania is a beautiful country in and of itself, one of the most fascinating and exciting parts of this country is its rich and very old culture. Unlike many other modern countries, Romania’s mythology seems to be very well preserved by the people in rural areas who are always eager to share their knowledge with others. This is how many myths and legends have been preserved and are still believed by some to this day. Therefore, here are 5 fascinating Romanian myths.
Ielele are some of the most fascinating creatures in Romanian mythology. Ielele are evil fairies that can be seen on fields or in forests as they sing and dance in a circle at night. They are said to be incredibly beautiful, and their songs are meant to entice men. However, if someone dares to approach them, they will instantly meet their demise.
They appear in either flowy white dresses or nude and they leave behind a trail of fire. Given their not-so-nice nature, it is believed that even saying their name out loud brings bad luck.
Moreover, they are said to be the bad sisters of the Sânzienele, who are the good fairies that bring good fortune and revive nature.
Although her name roughly translates as “the mother of the forest”, Muma Pădurii is said to be a very old and ugly lady who lives in the forest. She drives away anybody who dares to enter her forest.
Although angry ugly old ladies are usually depicted as villains in mythology, she is considered to be the protector of nature, of both animals and plants. She aides the creatures who are hurt but scares away any human as they would only harm her layer, especially children.
Muma Pădurii is, more or less, a witch who also has the ability to shapeshift. Inherently, she is an evil creature, but her motives are good. She is often also called “Baba Cloanța”.
In Romanian slang, it is used as a derogatory term when referring to someone who is not very pleasant to look at.
This mythical creature translates as “werewolf”, and although you may be familiar with that term from the Twilight movies, it actually has a more fascinating and exciting history in Romanian mythology.
He is half-man half-dog/wolf and he is responsible for the evil in the world, as he disturbs the peace and the natural order of things. He influences the phases of the moon and the eclipses by “stealing” the Sun. If you’ve ever heard of the Blood Moon, the Vârcolac might just be responsible for it. He can travel in the sky, bite the moon causing it to “bleed”. Therefore, he is controlled by the moon to act chaotically.
Basically, anything that is abnormal or unknown to people can be caused by the Vârcolac. However, if you want to drive him away, you can do so with the loud sound of a bell or other metallic objects.
Baba Dochia is a mythological creature who brings the Spring season. There are many interpretations of who she is and the legend that surrounds her, but I will share with you the one I personally heard.
Baba Dochia is an old woman who takes her herd of sheep up the mountain at the end of February. However, given severe weather conditions, she puts on 9 coats and proceeds on her journey. Her adventure up the mountain takes multiple days and so the weather changes as Spring comes along. She gradually takes off one coat a day, but as the 9th day approaches, the weather changes again and she freezes at the top of the mountain because she has no coats left.
This legend still holds to this day as she is said to bring cold weather before spring sets in. So people choose a day from the 1st to the 9th of March and if the weather is good on that day, it means their year will be fortunate as well.
Every country comes with its own array of myths and beliefs. However, Romanian mythology strikes me as one of the richest and alluring ones. There are plenty more folk stories to delight yourself with if these 4 examples have sparked your curiosity!