How To Say I Love You in Romania in the Romanian Language
Written and photographed by Ștefan Petre, a native resident of Romania
Love is a complicated feeling. It is expressed in very different ways by different people. Yet, it is always accompanied by a similar positive state of mind that brings joy. People in Romania have their very own way of expressing love, and this is a direct effect of the very strong culture present in this Eastern European country.
Let’s see how Romanians say I Love You and what makes their love life unique; learn about the culture of Love in Romania.
Please read all of the articles in this Love Series with an open mind. These pieces are written by someone intimately familiar with the local culture, a culture which is unique from the one you live in.
It is possible you will strongly disagree with some of the practices. In this case, learn from the culture, and try to look for some small token of the culture you can appreciate.
I Love You in Romanian
Te iubesc means I love you in Romanian. People here make use of this phrase to express their love. Those two words can be easily complemented by more complex phrases that strengthen the overall meaning of the declaration of love. For example, people tend to add foarte mult (very much) or cel mai mult (of the most). This stresses how much one loves another.
First Dates in Romania
Depending on how much of an introverted person you are, the first date may be quite a cringy moment. Romanians often choose public places as the location of their first dates.
These places include, but are not limited to, malls, restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs. Less often, they choose places like cinemas or concerts. Only a few people choose to have their first date in a park or at a sports place (such as an ice rink), as these places’ availability depends very much on the weather conditions.
It is a common practice that the boy brings a bouquet of flowers on the first date. Those flowers are usually red roses, but they may vary accordingly to the girl’s preferences. Depending on the perspective he has on etiquette rules, the boy should or should not pay the first date all by himself. Yes, this is not mandatory, as the general tendency in Romania goes towards the strong independent woman model. Therefore, splitting the bill is a commonly seen approach on the first date.
There is no rule of thumb that states the appropriate dressing on the first date. Everyone chooses their outfit according to their preferences and clothing style, so if you’re going on a first date with a Romanian you do not have to wear a tuxedo or Cinderella’s dress. Please note that the appropriate dressing depends on the place you have previously agreed for the first date.
There is no certain rule of thumb that guides how to make a correct marriage proposal. During the last years, Romanians became more and more creative and came up with different crazy ideas that helped them propose to their future wives.
For example, one man arranged a cop patrol to fake-arrest him so his girlfriend would get scared and the moment will be more memorable. Another guy hired two pilots to fly their helicopters while holding a huge banner saying Vrei să fii soția mea? (Will you marry me?).
The Culture Behind Romanian Weddings
In Romanian culture, the wedding is one of the most important moments in one’s life. There are many traditions and customs that gravitate around this crucial day that are commonly seen as publicly and legally expressing your love. Romania is split into several smaller regions that have very different traditions.
Wedding Traditions in Muntenia – Gătitul Mirilor / Preparing the Lovers
The capital city of Romania (București / Bucharest) is in the Muntenia region. In this part of the country, a commonly encountered tradition is called Gătitul mirilor (Preparing the lovers). This tradition requires the two lovers to be in separate houses (the groom at his parents’ house and the bride at her parents’ house).
The groom is accompanied by the groomsmen and the godfather who have to shave the groom with a brand new razor. This tradition represents the help offered to the groom in his love life.
The bride is accompanied by the bridesmaids and the godmother who are supposed to prepare her make-up and hairdressing. Similar to shaving the groom, it shows the help given by the godmother and the bridesmaids in the new life that the bride is about to start.
Wedding Traditions in Ardeal – Spargerea Paharelor / Breaking the Champagne Glasses
Cluj is another well-known city in Romania. This city is located in a region called Ardeal, which is one of the most traditional regions in this country. Spargerea Paharelor (Breaking the champagne glasses) is amongst the most noteworthy traditions that are followed during most of the weddings in Ardeal.
This tradition requires the two lovers to drink a glass of champagne and then break it by smashing it against the floor. It is said that this tradition brings luck to the two lovers and wipes away any curse that has previously been put on either of them.
Wedding Traditions in Oltenia – Decoratul Bradului / Decorating the Tree
Located in the southwest of Romania, Craiova is amongst the most well-known cities in Oltenia. When two lovers decide to marry in this region, they have to follow several traditions. The most popular wedding tradition that is still followed today refers to decorating a tree with paper-made flowers. This action takes place during a party held at the bride’s parents’ house and is performed by the two lovers accompanied by all their close friends.
On the wedding day, the previously decorated tree is held by an unmarried boy that has to hold it by himself the entire time while the two lovers go from the church back to their new home. When they reach their destination, the tree is hung at the main gate and left that way until it withers.
One other tradition occurs on the first Sunday after their wedding when the two lovers have to organize a party at which they have to invite all their acquaintances from the village. With a huge bottle of wine from which everyone should drink, they enjoy merriment with a group of singers.
Wedding Traditions Universal Across Romania
Furtul Miresei și Plata Răscumpărării / Kidnapping the Bride and Paying for Redemption
One of the most popular traditions at all Romanian weddings is called Furtul Miresei și Plata Răscumpărării (Kidnapping the Bride). During the party, a group consisting of the godfather and several other friends take advantage of the unsuspecting groom and kidnaps the bride. They take her to an unknown place, which could be even kilometers away from the initial party location!
In order to get his wife back, the groom has to negotiate the bride’s redemption. The godfather can ask for as much as he wants, yet the usual compensation consists of alcoholic beverages. When the bride is brought back to the party, everyone claps, then the party goes on.
Dansul Tată – Fiică / The Daughter – Father Dance
During the wedding party, there is a moment that marks the evolution of the bride. It is commonly referred to as Dansul Tată – Fiică (The Daughter – Father Dance). The groom holds his wife’s hand and takes her to her father. Then, he goes back to his place while the bride and her father dance to a slow song (usually a waltz).
This particular moment is meant to express the fact that the bride’s father gives her permission to step into her new life accompanied by her husband. This is usually seen as the last moment spent under her parents’ roof.
Aruncarea Buchetului / Throwing The Bouquet
In Romania, it is a common practice that the bride blindly throws her flower bouquet. All the girls that are not married should stay in a group behind the bride. It is said that the one who catches the bouquet is the one who will marry next.
While in the church, the priest asks the two lovers to make a promise to each other. This promise is a generally-accepted one and basically says that the husband and the wife will stay close to each other not only during good times but also during bad times: Împreună atât la bine, cât și la greu / Together during both hard and good times.
Cutting the Wedding Cake
During the wedding party, one of the most important parts is the moment when the two lovers cut the wedding cake. Each of the two lovers puts their right hand on the knife, and they make a small symbolic cut from the top to the bottom of the cake. This symbolizes that they work together towards the same goal and is usually seen as a promise that the two lovers will help each other.
Throwing of Rice and Wheat
After the majority of weddings in Romania, all the guests wait for the two lovers to exit the church. While they walk towards the location of the party, their friends throw rice and wheat at them. This is associated with wishing them a wealthy life with plenty of accomplishments and is usually emphasized by saying Să aveți o viață îmbelșugată!.
At the same time, the two lovers are accompanied by their godparents when exiting the church. This is a commonly-accepted representation that shows that the husband and the wife will be helped and guided throughout their new love life by their chosen godparents (the godfather and the godmother).
White Pigeons and Red Ribbons
Another quite common practice at Romanian weddings is to have two white pigeons that should be released by the two lovers after exiting the church. This symbolizes peace and purity. The two pigeons usually have a small piece of red-colored ribbon tied to their feet, used to mark them.
Additionally, the end of the wedding party is marked with a firework show that lasts for about 3 to 5 minutes. This is not mandatory but is a normal part of the more modern weddings. All the guests drink champagne and cheer with the two lovers.
Luna de Miere / The Honeymoon
Just like in most countries, after the wedding, the two lovers go on a vacation that is meant to allow them to relax after the exhausting preparation of the wedding. The most commonly chosen destinations are inside the country’s borders and include traditional locations such as Maramureș and Bucovina.
For those who prefer to see more sights, the two lovers can also choose to go on a road trip through the most popular cities in Romania (for example Cluj, Timișoara, Arad, Suceava, București, etc.).
Yet, there are some couples who also choose more exotic places (such as Tenerife or Dubai) with more adventurous activities for their honeymoon.
Celebrating Years of Marriage
In Romania, it is a quite commonly seen practice to celebrate occasionally as years of marriage pass. After a certain time has passed, the two lovers should celebrate with a themed party that is named using particular materials (for example paper, wood, silver, gold, platinum, etc.).
The following nationally accepted traditions guides the two lovers in celebrating their years of marriage:
- Paper Wedding – 1 year of marriage
- Cotton Wedding – 2 years of marriage
- Leather Wedding – 3 years of marriage
- Canvas / Flowers Wedding – 4 years of marriage
- Wooden Wedding – 5 years of marriage
- Sugar / Iron Wedding – 6 years of marriage
- Wool / Cooper Wedding – 7 years of marriage
- Bronze / Clay Wedding – 8 years of marriage
- Willow Wedding – 9 years of marriage
- Tin / Aluminum Wedding – 10 years of marriage
- Steel Wedding – 11 years of marriage
- Silk Wedding – 12 years of marriage
- Lace Wedding – 13 years of marriage
- Ivory Wedding – 14 years of marriage
- Crystal Wedding – 15 years of marriage
- Porcelain Wedding – 20 years of marriage
- Silver Wedding – 25 years of marriage
- Pearl Wedding – 30 years of marriage
- Ruby Wedding – 40 years of marriage
- Golden Wedding – 50 years of marriage
- Amethyst Wedding – 60 years of marriage
- Platinum Wedding – 70 years of marriage
- Diamond Wedding – 75 years of marriage
Although not every couple follows these traditions, the most commonly-celebrated are the Wooden, Crystal, Silver, Golden, and Diamond. The two lovers are supposed to buy each other a gift that represents the material associated with the celebration. For example, the husband can buy a golden necklace for his wife as a gift when celebrating the Golden Wedding (after 50 years of marriage).
The longest marriage in Romania is said to be in Bistrița. The two lovers claim to be married continuously for the last 75 years. Unfortunately, this fact is certified only by the local authorities, as the Guinness World Record Book does not have any valid certification regarding this aspect.
Religious Marriage vs. Legal Marriage
Religious marriage and legal marriage are two distinct things in Romania. The first one takes place in a church and does not have any legal value. On the other hand, the latter takes place in front of a Marriage Officer which certifies that the bonding of the two lovers is legally-recognized by all the state institutions. In this case, a marriage certificate is also emitted. This certificate helps the two lovers perform legal actions, such as splitting taxes, requesting a loan, etc.
In the unfortunate occurance that the couple realizes their relationship is not working after the wedding, religious marriage does not require any physical action to be taken in order to cancel it. However, if two lovers are legally married, they will have to file a divorce request and go in front of a judge that will intermediate the entire process.
Love in Public Places in Romania
The etiquette rules followed in Romania are quite easy-to-understand. Romanians are not that sensitive when it comes to seeing two lovers showing affection to each other, even in public places. However, showing your love should not cross a certain generally-accepted limit.
Holding hands or kissing in public places is acceptable. Hugging is okay too. Yet, gestures that usually belong to the sexual sphere should only be performed in intimate places (for example at home or in the hotel room).
Overexpressing your love in public places might not only bring you passers-by’s contempt but also a fine from the local policemen that are meant to maintain the public order.
Romanian Superstitions Referring to Love
In different parts of the country, there are certain sayings that guide the love life of superstitious people. These superstitions are transferred from one generation to another, yet there are fewer and fewer people that take them into account.
For example, it is said that if you are at a rectangular table and you sit in a corner, you will probably not marry at all during your lifetime. Another well-known superstition is that those who do not eat the corner part of the bread (commonly called colțul pâinii or coltuc) will never get along with their mother-in-law.
On the 30th of November, in Romania, we celebrate Sfântul Andrei (St. Andrew). On this day, single girls put several leaves of basil under their pillow. It is said that they will dream of their future husband. This superstition is commonly referred to as A își visa ursitul.
Romanian women are advised not to wear their wedding dress before actually marrying. This applies even to photo sessions. The bride should not wear her dress under any circumstances before the wedding day, besides when buying it, of course.
All Romanians tend to walk away when someone sweeps around them. This is not an early sign of a dust allergy, but a superstition that says that if someone sweeps your shoes then you will have a bad love life.
Common Romantic Travel Locations
There are several iconic places that lovers often visit in Romania. These places include some well-known bridges where couples go and put locks on the railing of the bridge. This symbolizes their eternal love and the fact that their relationship will remain locked forever. After placing the lock in the desired place, the two lovers throw the key into the water so that none of them will be able to open the lock and break the spell.
Another common place where lovers go in Romania is called Podul Minciunilor / The Bridge of Lies. It is said that those who go on that bridge and tell a lie will cause the bridge to fall. Therefore, the two lovers go there and tell each other Te iubesc / I Love You, in order to see if either of them is telling a lie.
Finally, one of the most popular attractions in Romania is called Poarta Sărutului / The Gate of the Kiss. It is a famous sculpture made by the famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși. People say that those who kiss under The Gate of the Kiss will have a love life that will last for a lifetime.
Conclusion – Love in Romania
To put everything in a nutshell, Romanians are people with a strong love culture. They express their feelings in a unique way. Certain aspects of their love are celebrated using local traditions that have unique and powerful meanings while other aspects embrace modern ideas.
If you enjoyed this article, please read the others in the Love Series. All of them are linked there and are a good cultural learning opportunity.
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