SPRING!

Moldova has turned my favorite season from summer to spring… and days like today are reasons why. My fingers are crossed we had our last snow of the year yesterday, as it was hovering above and below freezing which caused big, heavy snowflakes. My partner teacher told me there is a legend that goes like this: (taken from Wikipedia)

In Romanian mythology, Baba Dochia, or The Old Dokia, is a figure identified with the return of spring. She is sometimes imagined as “an old woman who insults the month of March when she goes out with a herd of sheep or goats.” Her name probably originates from the Byzantine calendar, which celebrates the 2nd century martyr-saint Eudokia of Heliopolis(Evdokia) on March 1. The Romanian Dokia personifies mankind’s impatience in waiting for the return of spring.

Baba Dochia has a son, called Dragomir or Dragobete, who is married. Dochia ill-treats her daughter-in-law by sending her to pick up berries in the forest at the end of February. God appears to the girl as an old man and helps her in her task. When Dochia sees the berries, she thinks that spring has come back and leaves for the mountains with her son and her goats. She is dressed with twelve lambskins, but it rains on the mountain and the skins get soaked and heavy. Dochia has to get rid of the skins and when frost comes she perishes from the cold with her goats. Her son freezes to death with a piece of ice in his mouth as he was playing the flute.

Another version of this story is that the son of Baba Dochia marries with a girl against her will. Angry with her son’s decision, she sends her daughter in law to wash some black wool in the river and tells her not to come back until the wool has turned white. The girls tries to wash it, but the wool would not change color. In despair and with her hands frozen from the cold water of the river, the girl starts crying, thinking that she would never be able to see her loved husband again. Then Jesus sees her from the sky and feels sorry for her, so he gives her a red flower telling her to wash the wool with that. As soon as she washes the wool as told by Jesus, it turns white so the girl happily returns home. When Baba Dochia hears about her story, she gets angry and thinks spring has come, since the man (who the girls had not recognized as being Jesus) was able to offer her a flower. She leaves for the mountains dressed in twelve coats. As the weather changes fast on the mountain, she starts throwing away her coats, one by one, until she is left with no coats. But as soon as she drops her last coat, the weather changes again and Baba Dochia is frozen on the mountain.

Today we don’t have any snowflakes (besides the remaining snow on the ground). The sun is shining and my host mom is even washing dishes outside. The only downfall of this year compared to last is we have mud up to our knees from all of that snow we had last month melting. I’ll happily take mud up to my knees and sunshine over cold weather though! Spring is just such a happy transition from the cold, long, and dark winter. In fact, I can’t even believe winter is over. It seemed to pass quickly this year but that’s probably because the end is near…

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