School 10 from Cluj-Napoca

The Epiphany

Page 2
In Moldavia, during the family feast, under the red and black tablecloth the peasants used to put hay or grain and on it, plates with traditional meals for this day. The hay was given to the animals and the grain was put near the other seeds to enrich that year’s crop. Bread was given to birds so that they won’t spoil the grain. The crumbs and water from Epiphany table were put near the trees so that would be fertile.
The most spectacular rite in the countryside is CHIRALEISA (from the Greek KIRIE ELEISON = God’s Blessing).
Children in numbers of 4 or 5 dressed with nice clothes, whips, bells, shouting and wassailing each house and singing “Chiraileisa/ Grain ear/ ‘till good crop”.
During the Epiphany was predicted the weather for the following year. It was believed that if this day was cold and it froze the crops would be considerable.
On the Epiphany’s day rites were made for guarding the house, for family protection and good luck. Fires were lighted between the trees and everyone jumped over then in order to get purified. Doors and windows were washed with ember-for keeping the bad luck out. Clothes and other textiles were put out for the priest to baptise them with holy water. No clothing was left outside because the crop would decrease.
©2000 Educe, Kristinehamn, Sweden. All rights reserved.
Drawings and text ©2000 School 10, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.