Zapostatul or Alaiul Berbecilor is a very old, pre-Christian tradition that originally took place in the week prior to the start of Spring but now takes place on Shrove Tuesday.  It is a celebration of the renewed emergence of nature, the setting aside of evil and a welcoming of the good.

berbeci 1

berbeci 2








Young men clothed in fleeces, with cow-bells and woolen masks decorated with flowers shock and scare those they meet.  They go around the village from door to door, accompanied by musicians, making lots of noise.  The villagers offer these malevolent creatures traditional products such as sausage, egg, bacon and Tuica which guarantees an extra dance outside the front door.

The young girls dress up too, as partners of the “Berbecii”: some in rags and some in the beautiful traditional costumes.  They follow the parade into the village square.

berbeci 6


Here, the dancing continues: the boys and girls dance together to the traditional music of Slatina-Timis.  Tufts of wool are plucked from the men’s jackets and serve to protect the crops and animals.  Winter is over, Spring has returned and the masks are removed.  Traditional dishes are served along with warm Tuica.