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Holidays, Celebrations, Festivals, & Events in Moldova

There are a number of both religious and secular holidays celebrated each year in Moldova. The year begins with New Year's celebrations, which begin New Year's Eve and follows through into the New Year. International Women's Day on March 8 is another popular holiday in Moldova; this holidays is a great day to recognize the women in a person's life, including wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. The next significant secular holiday is Labor Day, which falls on May 1 and is often celebrated with the day off of work. Just a few days later, on May 9 everyone finds the Eternal Flame and large cities are filled with military parades to celebrate Victory Day, which took place May 8, 1945 in World War II (Victory Day is celebrated in most former Soviet countries on May 9 since it was May 9 Moscow time when surrender was obtained in Berlin, Germany).

The last two secular holidays celebrated in Moldova come with a bit of controversy among the citizens. August 27 is National Day and August 31 is National Language Day. The first of these celebrations commemorates the country's declaration of independence from the Soviet Union and the second is the law recognizing only the Moldovan language as official. Many people in the country wanted to remain with the Soviet Union so some fail to celebrate this first day and nearly every non-native Moldovan speaker in the country argues with the second day since it ended the recognition of Russian as an official language and began the process to encourage everyone to learn and speak Moldovan.

Religious holidays are primarily Christian celebrations as most of the people in Moldova are Eastern Orthodox Christians. Among the most important of these holidays is Christmas, which in Moldova takes place January 7-8, which is the Eastern Orthodox Christmas. During the Christmas season there are a few popular dishes and traditions. One of the staple foods during this season is sarma, which was originally a Turkish dish known as dolma; sarma consists of meat, grains, and spices stuffed in grape or cabbage leaves. Other popular dishes during Christmas include pilaf, chicken, pastries, cake, cheeses, fruits, and nuts. In general, there is an incredible variety of foods during Christmas.

The only other major religious holiday in Moldova is Orthodox Easter, which again doesn't share a date with much of the Catholic and Protestant religions' Easter dates. Like in other Christian countries though, Easter is celebrated over a full week, with numerous holy days taking place the week preceding Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.

For many of the above mentioned holidays and other celebrations, such as birthdays and weddings, the one consistency is the vast amounts of food served, but the particular foods offered are more dependent on personal tastes.

This page was last updated: March, 2013