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The story of Dragobete, the day Romanians celebrate love

  
Dragobete is the day Romanians celebrate love. It is celebrated on the 24th of February and it is considered the first day of spring.

The celebration of Dragobete was preserved since the times of the Dacian tribes. Dragobete was the son of Baba Dochia, who is a mythical character identified with the return of spring. It is said that Dragobete was a handsome young man who fell out of the sky and who interfered in the life of beautiful women and young wives.

  
Dragobete s the symbol of true love and he is the patron of the birds of the forest. He can be considered a variant of Cupidon or Eros. 

Dragobete is a day when fertility is celebrated, a day when couples are formed and a day when birds build their nest. It is also said that on this day men should not upset women and men should not fight with women or else bad things will happen.

Traditions

On the day of Dragobete, young people used to dress in beautiful clothes, went in forests and picked flowers while singing songs. At noon, the girls would ran towards the village, chased by boys who tried to kiss them. If the girl liked the boy, she would let him kiss her. This would have been considered an official engagement. In the evening, the engagement would be announced in front of the community.

  
It was said that people who participated in the celebration of Dragobete would be blessed the whole year and they would be protected from disease. It was also believed that those who did not celebrate it, they would not be able to love that year.

  
It was also thought that on this day birds chose their mate and they would start to build their nest. Dragobete would be the one that officiated the birds wedding ceremony.

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