Due to a relative geographical isolation, the inhabitants of the Land of Pădureni in Poiana Ruscă Mountains have created and developed a Romanian culture and civilization with many particularities. In this region, with a soil rich in iron, copper, talc, marble, etc, a millenary industrial activity has been performed and since the 17th century the natives have lived along with foreign artisans coming from other cultural areas (Western); nevertheless, and this might seem a paradox, the inhabitants of this land have preserved until nowadays one of the most original and archaic traditional culture.
This study presents the particularities encountered in the Land of Pădureni in the performance of the winter customs, starting on Christmas’ Eve and ending at St. John’s Day (the 24th of December – the 7th of January). We think that carols, in the way they have existed in the traditional village until the second half of the 20th century, can be regarded as real odes dedicated by the members of the group of carolers to the householder, an acknowledgement of the fact that the family members had lived in accordance to the community’s norms throughout the year which is now at an end. In this time of the year, the family and the household turn from being a part of the community to being its centre. It is on this time of the year that there were highlighted the qualities of the family members, their occupations, their behavior in accordance to the moral norms of the community, in fewer words, all the qualities that provide the stability of the family and of the community, implicitly.
Apart from having a good time and consolidating community cohesion, all the events taking place on Christmas feasts had as a special purpose to bring young women and men together in view of future marriages. It was no hazard in the fact that weddings began in the following period.
Keywords: Land of Pădureni, Christmas, winter customs, carol, group of carolers.
Cuvinte-cheie: Ţinutul Pădurenilor, Crăciun, obiceiuri de iarnă, colindă, ceata colindătorilor.