Christmas in the Szeklerland
From the first day of Christmas to the Epiphany, the children walk with the "Star", and the older ones with "The Deer" with their antlers adorned with bells and tassels, clattering from their teeth and turning around to cheer their hosts. These are hundred years old customs, still kept by the Romanians from northern Harghita County and the Csangos in the Ghimes Valley, the cheerful and noisy groups of carol singers giving charm to the winter holidays.
During Christmas, two customs stand out in the Hungarian community traditions: "Bethlehem" and "Az aprószentek" or "Whipping the girls".
"Bethlehem" presents the birth of Jesus Christ. The model of a Catholic church, made of cardboard or light boards and symbolizing the city where the Savior was born, is carried away from house to house, and the carol singers dressed as Joseph and Mary, shepherds and the Three Magi from the East, recall the biblical story.
"Az aprószentek" is a tradition for young people before marriage. Groups of boys dressed in holiday clothes visit the girls' houses with a birch rod decorated with colorful ribbons, predominantly red - because the custom is about passion and love. Here, they recite ritual texts and wishes.