On Romanian Myths
Hi guys, I'm Ramona Wray, author of 'Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale' and, as I'm a Romanian native, I've stopped by today to tell you a little bit about my country's creepy myths.
Contrary to the popular opinion, vampires aren't very popular with Romanians. Yes, we do have a big ol' castle in Transylvania, but Count Dracula doesn't hover above it at night, attired in a black cape and looking to sink his fangs into some tasty morsel. I should know, I spent my twentieth birthday there and had a party going all night right outside the walls. Not a single vampire in sight!
Much more widespread is the myth of the 'moroi'. Now, a 'moroi' isn't quite the creature described by Richelle Mead in her 'Vampire Academy' series. The 'moroi' (or 'strigoi', the words are synonyms), are in fact dead people who aren't quite dead. That is to say, after they've died, these creatures dig themselves out of their graves at night and come to cause harm in their former households. Sometimes, it's only material damage - like breaking things - other times, it's worse. They feed on the life force of the person they loved most at the time they died; as a result, that person becomes sicker and sicker, and eventually dies. They say one can tell who will become a 'moroi' from the moment that person is born (something about the shape of the hair on his/her head at the moment he/she comes into the world). There are many eye witness accounts of people swearing they've crossed paths with dead people at night, and of whole families claiming to be terrorized by dead relatives. Solution? Simple: dig out the corpse (which will apparently be rosy-cheeked and lying down the wrong way in the coffin) and put a stake through its heart, then set it on fire. And, believe it or not, in remote villages, people still do that.
Next, there are the 'iele' (plural), no other than the well-known faeries. They're supposed to be groups of gorgeous girls who gather in the woods at night when there's a full moon and dance. If the random traveler (or, camper) happens to come upon these girls, and worse, let himself be cajoled into dancing with them ... that's it. He's dead. He'll dance the night away and eventually die of exhaustion. Solution: avoid the woods at night. Or, better still, say 'no' if a group of semi-naked girls invite you to dance with them under the moonlight.
Similarly, we have the 'stihii' (also plural), who are young girls who've died unmarried. They rise from their graves at night, lure the occasional by-passer into the cemetery, and also dance with him until the poor fellow's heart gives out from exhaustion. Solution: avoid walking by cemeteries at night.
Last, but not least, I have to mention the witches. In my country, the vast majority of people believe in (and fear) witches ('vrajitoare'). Gypsies are generally thought to form the majority of this fascinating slice of the population, but there are many exceptions. A witch is someone who can do just about anything - tell fortunes, cast spells and hexes, bring people together or break them apart, cause or eliminate illnesses, etc. In the absence of really gross warts growing on their faces and since they don't fly around on broomsticks, the 'vrajitoare' are not easily recognizable. Still, the solution to avoid becoming entangled in some witch-caused mayhem, is provided, ever so eloquently, by Justin Timberlake, as he warns, 'What goes around, comes around.' My interpretation is this : don't do to others what you wouldn't like others to do to you. Witches rarely pick on the good, God-fearing folk.
Hope you enjoyed my short guide on how to survive the night in Romania without being 'devoured' by one of our supernatural creatures :) I'd like to end with this: my country boasts one of the richest collection of supernatural myths and legends in the world. From the sandy beaches of the Black Sea to the very peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, it is a place filled with great stories and very skilled storytellers. I was raised by one such pair, my grandparents, and it's to them that I owe my love of writing fantasy. To them - and to my wonderful, mind-blowing, mesmerizing country - my infinite gratitude ...
Okay was that not just a totally awesome guest post? I remember when I first read it, I thought, "I can't wait to share this with my blog followers!" I hope you all enjoyed reading it and learning about the myths of Romania just as much as I did.
And don't forget to check out Ramona's book, Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale. Keep an eye out cause I'll be posting a giveaway for it tomorrow.
Thanks for stopping by and remember, your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.