On the fiftieth day after the Resurrection and ten days after Ascension, is celebrated the Pentecost (Rusaliile) , which is the oldest Christian festival and is also the foundation of the Christian Church, because in this day about 3000 people were baptized and formed the first Christian community. The word «Rusalii» is derived from the Slavic word «Rusalka» rusalcele which means the water spirits like fairies, nymphs or demons of water that were celebrated to be softened in the first week of June. This pagan tradition has been passed to Christians, who called Rusalka «Drăgaica» (she-devil, demon). In that week, was forbidden washing, bathing or any other any activity that was related to water.
This feast is so especially dedicated to spirits of the dead and is celebrated differently in the different parts of the country. In Moldavia and Transylvania, Christians celebrate Pentecost for three days, in Muntenia and Oltenia, for seven days, and in Banat no less than eight days.
In some areas of the country the tradition says that the faithful should go to church with walnut and lime twigs to be sanctified. Subsequently, these holy branches will adorn homes and holy icons because they have the power to ward off evil spirits.
In popular belief, Pentecost represents spirits of the dead who have left the graves and live around springs. It is said that those who hear their songs will lose their minds or get sick. The disease itself is like a trance that can be cured only with „Căluşari” dancers. Căluşarii dance is usually met in Oltenia, considered healing and brings happines and luck. Divided into groups of 7-8 people, Căluşarii begin their dance in the first day of Pentecost, going from house to house to ward off evil spirits and wandering.
Căluşarii dance aims to protect people, livestock and crops from negative influences, such as fairies, evil spirits that cause disease. Unlike the ghost humans it causes trouble in the cold, „Ielele” are present only in the summer. It is said that they are punishing people who do bad deeds or those who do not respect the Pentecost’s day.
There is a lot of popular superstition tradition related with Pentecost: not pick healing herbs for nine weeks, not working and not go into the wilderness to avoid being punished.
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