During the night of Saint John, which is in January the sixth, uh priests orthodox priests would bless the waters. After blessing the waters they would come in every house, and with the blessed waters they would bless the house. But this is a habit going on and on and on that only got interrupted for the pandemia, for the pandemic. Otherwise they would come every year, and they would come to the door and they would knock on the door, and you would open it and the priest would come with blessed song and they would sprinkle that blessed water on your walls. By now its religion, until now the story is not a story, it is a method of uh blessing your house. But from now on superstition begins, and uh when the priest sprinkles the water he does it with a bouquet of basil. A very nice smell comes out from that bouquet, and after blessing the walls, the house, the home uh the young girls would request the priest a little leaf or a little part of that basil bouquet because they say if you put that thing beneath your pillow, you dream the man you marry with, you will marry. It’s valid also for men, but men don’t do it. They are (laughs) more dignified (laughs). And this is the first layer of the story, the second layer is the further the village, the more primitive society, the harsher the habit. Actually in some villages they say that you don’t dream your husband, you see him in the mirrors and it gets freakier and freakier. But even in these days, even now, young girls, shyly or not, request the priest, “Oh could you please give me some basil, I want to dream about my future husband”.
Background: This informant has lived in Romania their whole life and is very interested in the folk traditions of various countries. They found this piece of folklore from other people in Romania.
Interpretation: This tradition is another example of folklore and religion intertwining. The informant and I interpret it as the young women wanting some sort of blessing from an authority figure in order to think about a man. In this case the figure is a religious authority. The image that the women see is probably the man that they fancy the most. The basil also shows the power both in religion, having been blessed by holy water, and the power of nature with the strong fragrance.