Macinicii and the New Year of spring

Macinicii and the New Year of spring


On “the day of the ones without a name” we eat sweet bread and drink 44 glasses of wine.

In Romania the food blends often with traditions and old habits.

On the 9th of March or “the day of the ones without a name” it is said that the old lady Dochia (the appearance of a goddess) dies frozen and her body is petrified. By her death it is marked the start of a new year of spring. And as we speak about traditions, it is a moment of time refreshening, during which gardens and courtyards are getting clean.

On this occasion, from a dough of wheat flour we prepare Macinici (name derived from martyrs). The dough is rounded into a human shape or an 8 shape (another way to imagine the human shape) and then they are baked or boiled.
On top of the Macinici you add on honey and nuts, especially for the baked version. There are 40 to 44 sweet breads that are baked (that represent the number of saints or martyrs) and given to other people.
Over the boiled Macinici you usually add on lemon zest and cinnamon.

You would come across boiled version more often in the south of Romania. This one I remember from my childhood.
The baked version I discovered much later on my friends from the University. It spreads more often in the upper half of the country. Nowadays they are called Moldavian Macinici.
And depending on the region, if we look carefully, we can find other alternative names.

But let’s get back to the story. From the death of old lady Dochia starts another old habit of drinking 44 glasses of wine. Each person has to drink wine and empty the 44 glasses.
It is believed that the wine drunk on Macinici day transforms along the year in blood and gives you the power needed for work.

Also on 9th of March the ones that don’t have a saint name (like Maria, Nicholas) are celebrated.

In the restaurants in Bucharest you can’t find yet Macinici on this day.
Nevertheless, you can discover at least the Moldavian Macinici version in the new shops that sell traditional products.
If you missed it this year, make sure tone of your next trips to Romania are around the 9th of March.


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