Romanian Heroes in the Romanian Folklore
A place with so many multicultural elements thanks to its strong belief in God, on one hand, and witchcraft, on the other hand. To all of this, we can add pagan customs and Christian traditions, old colorful stories, and legends preserved from one generation to another. This place gave birth to Romanian heroes in the national folklore and to fabulous creatures. As we go way back in time, we discover that Romanian mythology is an important part of the Romanian folklore.
There is neither Snow White or Elsa from Frozen, nor Superman or Spiderman, but we have top-notch heroes, with superpowers and mysterious significations.
There are ten Romanian heroes and today you’ll find information about the most famous ones such as Fat Frumos, Ileana Cosanzeana, Pacala si Baba Dochia.
Pacala is a folk hero, a fictional character in Romanian culture, folklore, and literature. He is known for his humor and cleverness, hidden under a mask of naivety and simplicity. His name comes from the Romanian “a păcăli” – “to fool”.In the Romanian literature appear several anecdotes about Pacala, by authors such as Ion Creanga, Ioan Slavici, and Petre Dulfu. The legends of Pacala were an inspiration for the Romanian films, having the main role in 2 of the most watched movies of the 2000s made here (The return of Pacala 1 and 2).
Pacala appears in several funny tales. The most famous one is Pacala and the door. It is a moment when he is hurrying to run away from home with his brothers. They tell him to shut the door because that’s what you do when you’re leaving home. So Pacala catches the door and carries it.
Fat Frumos or Prince Charming is the positive hero in the Romanian culture. In most of his stories, he is fighting the dragons and witches to set free his chosen one, Princess Ileana Cosânzeana.
We can always see him with his magic sword, on his The Marvellous Horse (Calul Nazdravan) and with his belt, where appears his horse – representing a strong connection between them. His clothes are old, inherited from his father, but have a special significance. The red robe gives him confidence and makes him look surprising and exciting every time.
Ileana Cosinzeana is the main female character in the Romanian mythological tales and the female correspondent to Fat Frumos – Prince Charming, usually his ideal female. She is considered to be a good fairy, even if she isn’t named likewise. All her power is kept in her three braids and the enchanted belt that captivates and crushes the evil.
According to folklore, she is kidnapped by a dragon (the Romanian term is zmeu) and locked in a tower or the Other Land. She is always saved by Fat Frumos, whom must go through difficult situations on his way. In the end, he defeats the dragon and releases the girl. The tale ends with a marriage. And both live happily ever after.
Baba Dochia (the Old Dokia) is one of the most important figures from the Romanian mythology and she identifies with the return of spring on 1st of March. The most known legend about her says that she had a boy who falls in love with a girl. They got married and Baba Dochia becomes really mad after she heard the news. She wanted to revenge her daughter in law and asked her to wash a ball of black wool until it turns white. The girl washed for a long time the black wool and discovered it was an impossible task. So as she was crying and hoping for a miracle, a strange man, touched by the girl’s grief gave her a beautiful flower saying that if she will put the flower into the water, the wool will turn white.
Romania is a magical country, full of surprises and exciting places, people, that leave long-lasting stories and legends through the time.