Romanian Traditions of Hay
The peasants live a hardworking life, without modern technology or machines. They plow their fields with horses, and still pull weeds out by hand. Moreover, they try to avoid nasty chemically grown products as much as possible.
Buying a horse can cost between $1500-$2000 and even higher. Owning a horse is more important than a car, for it is used to carry food, logs, hay, tools and the family.
These people are always occupied during summer. Not only do they grow their own food, but they also build up an animal food supply for winter. In the past, they used to sleep on hay mattresses.
Hay making begins with scything the grass early in the morning. In their bags, they take some bacon, onion and cheese. Hey is traditionally mown early in the morning, while the dew is still on the grass. Before, they were sharping the blade with a rock, that they used to store in a holder, which was hung on their belts.
Later, the women join in with warm food. Their duty is to spread out the grass with a hay rake. When the hay is completely dried, it is put up in hayacks for a couple of weeks before it is loaded onto the horse-drawn wagons, transported home and deposited in the barns.
Hundreds of haystacks are built outdoors, on properties and in fields. They can stay outdoors until late winter, when there’s a need for a stack at the farm.
Traditional Beliefs Involving Hay
- Spring hay is the best hay. Best grass for feeding the livestock is in May. It contains large amounts of nutrients. The cheese that was made in May or June is the best cheese.
- Hay traditions are so deeply rooted in the Romanian culture, that a lot of superstitions were crafted around it, such as work on certain days would set the hay on fire.
- Behind haystacks was the place where love affairs took place. Suspicious fathers would often pitchfork the stacks for their daughters’ reputation was at stake.