Christmas - An American Annual of Christmas Literature and Art
Augsburg Publishing, Minneapolis 1955


Travelers to Europe in past years did not often include Romania in their itinerary, and the difficulties of today make such a trip impossible. But this year at Christmas thousands of Romania's sons and daughters in other lands remember the festivities they once enjoyed—whether they came from Bucharest, Oradea, Timisoara, or some tiny community that cannot be found on a map.

They speak of the delicious "Turta," the special cake made for "Nosterea Domnului Isus" (Christmas Eve). Its thin coats of rolled dough represented the swaddling clothes of the Christ Child. The dough was made the night before, and it was the custom for father and mother to take it out into the garden. Father then would go from tree to tree threatening to cut each one down—and mother would try to prevent him from touching the tree each time, saying, "Spare this tree, for next year it will be as heavy with fruit as my fingers are with dough."

The men remember how as boys they went from house to house on Christmas night singing carols and reciting poems. Old legends were told and retold. They carried a "Steaua," a wooden star covered with gilt or decorated with colored paper, on a long pole. The star framed a picture of the Nativity. Sometimes bells and ribbons were used to make the Steaua even more beautiful. And when the lighted candle was placed inside, everyone said it looked like a heavenly lantern.