Mythology in Romania
The mythology of Romania is rich with captivating legends passed down through generations. From the story of Baba Dochia, who fled the wrath of the gods in the form of a never-ending winter, to the legend of Manole, the master builder who sacrificed his wife to complete a majestic monastery, and the Ballad of Miorita, a haunting tale of betrayal and loyalty among shepherds. These legends reveal the imaginative and complex beliefs and superstitions of Romania. Even the most trivial superstitions, like the belief that you should never whistle indoors because it invites evil spirits, can be intriguing.
The Solomonar is a powerful sorcerer in Romanian mythology. He is believed to control the storms, winds, lakes, mountains, and caves. He is also the creator of frost, mist, and hail. He is described as a tall, red-haired man with bulging eyes who always carries his Magic Book, the source of all his powers. People who have seen him claim that he also carries a piece of wood for calling the winds and an iron axe, which he uses to create hail.
According to the Romanian myth, only a baby boy born with a distinctive sign on his face and body can become a Solomonar. The newborn is taken away by an old Solomonar and trained for 20 years at the Solomonar’s School, located somewhere at the End of the Earth, in a deep cave. There, he learns the languages of all the beings from Earth, studies all the magic spells ever created, and then, after many complex tests, he is left alone at a rock table to write down his knowledge in his book.
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The Solomons are known as good wizards who often disguise themselves as false beggars to test people’s kindness. Those who refuse to help them are punished with hail and intense storms that ruin their crops. However, those who offer help are rewarded with gifts to the rivers and the gratitude of water fairies.
The Solomonars are divided into two categories in different parts of the country: good and evil. The evil ones are said to bring raging storms and floods, but they also have an enemy - a former Solomonar who became a Master of Stones.
Some people believe that the Solomons are descendants of the Dacian High Priests known as Kapnobatai, while others claim that they are descendants of St. Elijah. Regardless of their origins, the Solomonars are still respected and hold a special place among Romanian folklore’s magical beings. Some people even have seen them, especially in the Bukovina region.
These Carpathian Gandalfs not only master the elements but also mythical dragons. Some people claim to have seen mighty dragons coming up from deep mountain lakes, obeying the commands of Solomonars.
Legends from many nations describe an ancient time when giant humans ruled the world. Some sources suggest that these legends may be more than just stories and that these giants might have ruled the world at some point. Regardless of whether or not they existed, the tales they left behind offer us fascinating insights into their way of life.
Romanian folklore is home to the beloved Jidovi giants. These creatures are depicted as patient and kind, taking massive strides from one hill to the next. Evidence of their presence in Romania can still be seen today in the many places named after them, such as the Jidovi table, the Jidovi cave, the hill or the tombs of Jidovi. There is even a measuring unit called jidovina, which consists of several meters and represents the equivalent of a giant’s step. Even today, many people still believe in their existence.
In the Carpathians, Jidovi is often called Blajini, which means “the Kind Ones,” or Novaci, which means “the Powerful Ones,” as they could effortlessly uproot trees. They lived in caves and dense forests, enjoyed talking, and respected humans, whom they saw as their successors and the future owners of all the rivers and mountains.
In the early 1900s, some people claimed to have heard stories from their grandparents, who had seen Jidovi in person. According to these tales, only a few giants remained but lived in harmony with humans. When great floods came, Jidovi cared for people and their animals without asking for any reward.
There is also a story that is repeated regardless of the region, which tells of giants who, upon seeing people ploughing the land, would pick them up like little toys, smile at them, and then put them back down carefully. However, the most famous legend is the story of the agreement between the great Dacian king Burebista and all of the Jidovi from the mountains. They could only live in the hills if they promised to protect the tremendous Dacian gold treasures with their lives. Some Jidovi are believed to still live in the deepest caves of the Carpathian Mountains, guarding these treasures for generations to come.
The following is a story from Romanian mythology about a creature known as Zburatorul, which means “the one who flies”. According to legend, Zburatorul is a handsome airman who visits young girls and wives in their dreams. However, despite his alluring appearance, Zburatorul is a personification of intense feelings of erotic desire and longing for a man.
Zburatorul is said to come down through the chimney or the window, often taking on the form of a girl’s lover. The two then meet in the world of dreams to consummate their love. However, the experience is so intense that the young woman becomes exhausted and obsessively in love.
In the past, their communities judged girls whom Zburatorul visited harshly. They were often accused of being love-obsessed and misbehaving. However, some good sorcerers were able to help these girls by using magic to make Zburatorul disappear. They would also use plants such as wild garlic, Mandrake, lovage, or deer grass to create potions to help cure the girls of their love illness.
Although sorcerers no longer exist, the legend of Zburatorul continues to captivate people’s imaginations. Perhaps, even today, Zburatorul still finds ways to torment young women’s love lives. To explore Romanian culture and history, consider taking a Classic Romania Tour.