Unlike Catholic/Protestant Western Europe, Romanians observe the Greek Orthodox Easter which usually falls one week after the Catholic Easter. Sometimes the time in between the two Easters is greater.
The Holy week in the Romanian Orthodox calendar starts with Palm Sunday (Florii) and ends with the Monday after Easter. Traditionally Romanians take this Monday off, though in the recent years, the companies became more focused on work and productivity and stopped giving the Monday after Easter off.
The Holly week is preceded by the Lent which lasts up until the Easter Sunday with a brief allowance of fish meat on Palm Sunday. The Romanian Lent means no meat, no dairy and no eggs.
During the week women cook all kinds of dishes with the main ingredient being lamb. The most popular dish is “drob” which is a meatloaf made of lamb organs, eggs, and carefully combined spices. Besides eating lamb based dishes, there’s the egg painting. Every respectable household has a batch of boiled and dyed red eggs (other colors and patterns are acceptable as long as you make sure you have some red eggs). People don’t touch this food until Easter Sunday.
As happy as people are during the holly week, for lambs it is a dark week. If you feel bad for the lambs, don’t go to the market because you will see countless live lambs being sold and often butchered on the spot. It is the most useless, senseless Romanian tradition. This is why many Romanian animal rights activists share appeals to compassion toward lambs before Easter holidays.
On the night between Saturday and Sunday, traditionally people flock to the Easter Midnight Mass in the local Orthodox Church. During the Easter Midnight Mass the priest recites from the Bible and at the end he walks three times around the church and gives light to the people. Giving light means the people will light up their candle from the priests candle and take it home.
On Sunday morning people are allowed to eat everything that was cooked during the week. There’s a lot of pigging out and sometimes people end up in ER because of all the excesses.
Then there’s the egg tapping. Egg tapping is when two people hold eggs and one person uses their egg to hit the other person’s egg on the top. The one with the broken egg loses and gives their egg to the winner. Before tapping the egg, the person who hits says “Christ has risen” (Hristos a inviat). After tapping, the person whose egg was hit says “He has risen indeed” (Adevarat a inviat). Children love tapping eggs.
A special kind of eggs are the traditional eggs from Bukovina. There’s a whole art and science behind the tranditional egg decoration.