Seen as the Romanian version of Valentine’s Day, Dragobete is celebrated on February 24th. Dragobete, personified as a young handsome man, is the protector of lovers in Romanian folk culture. Around that day, which represents the end of winter, it is believed that birds find their mate and start building nests together. Traditionally, young men and women would pick flowers together in the woods, and upon returning, women would allow the man they fancied to steal a kiss. That would mark the start of their relationship, and bygone times, that of their engagement.

Today, a common custom says that women should make sure that, by the day’s end, they’ve touched a man, should they want to be happy in love that year. Any man, of any age, even a stranger on the bus (although not recommended), will do.

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