Children of all ages go from house to house singing Christmas carols, or through the streets on New Year's Eve reciting congratulatory verse. The whole traditional village participates in waists, although mostly children practice this custom.
Traditionally, during the first hours after dark on Christmas' Eve is the time for children to go caroling and the adults stay home to greet them. As they go caroling from house to house, the children receive treats like candy, fruit, baked treats and sometimes even money in appreciation of their performance and as a sign of holiday good will.
The grown-ups caroling goes on Christmas evening and night. The waits -young and mature people - gather in groups and they choose a leader. When they are in the front yard of a house, they perform their repertory to the host. The songs are always accompanied by dance. When the performance is over, the host invites the carolers inside the house for food, drinks and presents.
Children make a star using colored paper and then they put in its middle an icon of Jesus. Many of children decorate their star using shiny tinsel. The “Star Carol” is a tradition during the 3 days of Romanian Christmas.
While holding the star in the hands the children sing:
"The star has appeared on high,
Like a big secret in the sky,
The star is bright,
May all your wishes turn out right…"
Throughout the season, teenagers and young adults especially enjoy caroling with the “Goat”. The “Goat” is actually a usually boisterous young person dressed up in a goat costume. The whole group dances through the streets and from door to door, often with flute music. This tradition comes from the ancient Roman people and it reminds us of the celebration of the ancient Greek gods.
This custom is also called "brezaia" in Wallachia and Oltenia, because of the multicolored appearance of the goat mask. The goat jumps, jerks, turns round, and bends, clattering regularly the wooden jaws.
This custom is known only in Moldavia, a part of Romania, on the Christmas Eve. In this case a young person dresses up in a bear costume adorned with red tassels on its ears, on his head and shoulders. The person wearing the bear costume is accompanied by fiddlers and followed by a whole procession of characters, among them a child dressed-up as the bear's cub. Inspired by the crowd’s singing:
"Dance well, you old bear,
And I’ll give you bread and olives",
the bear grumbles and imitates the steps of the bear, striking strongly against the earth with the soles of its feet to the sound of drums and pipes.
The ploughmen are teenagers and children carrying whips, bells and pipes in their hands.
"Sorcova" is a special bouquet used for New Year's wishes early New Year’s morning. Children wish people a “Happy New Year!” while touching them lightly with this bouquet. After they have wished a Happy New Year to the members of their family, the children go to the neighbors and relatives. Traditionally, the "Sorcova" bouquet was made up of one or several fruit - tree twigs (apple-tree, pear-tree, cherry-tree, plum-tree); all of them are put into water, in warm place, on November 30th (St. Andrew’s Day), in order to bud and to blossom on New Year's Eve.
Tare ca piatra,
Peste varã, primavarã,
May your health be strong
And you life long:
As an apple tree
As a pear stately
As a rose bush fair
Blossoming beyond compare:
Strong as a granite rock
Quick as an arrow’s shock
Hard as an iron bar
Tougher than steel by far,
Over summer, over spring,
May your health be great
A New Year with happiness
And in everything success.
Nowadays people often use an apple-tree or pear-tree twig decorated with flowers made up of colored paper. The children receive all kinds of treats such as: cakes, honeycombs, biscuits, pretzels, candies, nuts, money.