Observed annually on February 24th, Dragobete is a Romanian holiday that not only celebrates the beginning of spring but also serves as a day to celebrate love and romance, much like a Romanian St. Valentine’s Day. It is a holiday rich in traditions and superstitions, which often vary from region to region.

History of Dragobete

While no one really knows when Dragobete started, it is believed to date back to ancient Romania. In ancient myths, Dragobete is the son of Dochia and is seen as somewhat of a divine figure. He was often said to be seen riding a flying white horse during daylight hours and is considered a symbol of spring and light.

It is said that his magical presence could make the trees flower, insects and birds multiply, and turn men and women into lovers. He is the Romanian equivalent of Cupid, bringing love and life with him.

Dragobete Customs & Traditions

A tradition that was practiced extensively in the past, but has somewhat diminished in modern times, is the Ceremony of Dragobete. On this day, young men and women would go into the forest to sing songs and pick flowers. At the stroke of noon, the girls would run as fast as they could back towards the village, and the boys would chase them to try and give the girls a kiss.

If a girl fancied a boy, she would let him steal a kiss. This act would then be seen as an engagement between the boy and the girl. Later in the evening, the engagement would be announced to the entire community. In rural areas of Romania, there are numerous superstitions associated with this holiday.

For instance, single women gather the last of any snow that may remain and melt it down for various beauty treatments throughout the year. It is also believed that if men argue with or otherwise hurt a woman on this day, they will be cursed all year long. Some Romanians treat this day much in the same way that Americans treat St. Valentine’s Day, by going out on dates, giving each other gifts, and doing things as a couple.

Where is it celebrated?
Romania (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 24 Saturday
Next year (2025)
February 24 Monday
Last year (2023)
February 24 Friday