The Orthodox religion is widely spread in Romania. In fact, if you look at our Easter celebrations you might even say most people are religious.
Easter is the only Orthodox holy day when the churches are literally flooded with people. It is not uncommon on Easter night for young people to take a break from their clubbing activities or their parties to go to church at midnight, only to return to the said activities after the service is over. Incredible? Perhaps, but certainly a fact on Easter night.
Young, old, children that should have been in bed hours ago, all will participate in the church service on Easter night. Everyone brings a candle and the priest will give them all light when the service is over. Afterward, everyone returns home, usually to have a big meal shortly after 1 am.
How would you like some sarmale (minced meat in cabbage rolls), some salata de boeuf (salad with boiled potatoes, carrots, pickles and veal meat and lots of mayo), boiled eggs, or even some lamb chops shortly after midnight? A bit extreme? Well, if you want to celebrate this special day together with the Romanians in Bucharest, you should prepare for this feast early. Most restaurants will be serving traditional food and have fixed menus for this day. If you want something extra-special, try Caru’ cu Bere, or another classical restaurant.
If you think Easter in Bucharest is only about eating enormous quantities of food, you are wrong; there will also be plenty of drinking. As is usual at traditional events, you will be served tuica (plum brandy), visinata (sour cherry liquor), and incredibly delicious local wine.
You should also be warned about the colored eggs which you will see everywhere during Easter. These are boiled eggs painted in different colors. Tradition says you need at least one of these eggs with you when going to the church to get light on Easter night.
After the service is over, you can knock your egg against the egg of your friends or family and say “Hristos a inviat” (Christ has risen). The friend will reply with “Adevarat a inviat” (It is true that He has risen). Romanians will use these words instead of the normal “hello” when meeting each other during this week.
If you want a truly memorable Easter experience in Bucharest, go to the Stavropoleos Monastery, 4th Stavropoleos Street, in the old city center.