Sharing Food in Romania
“If you offer people some of your food, you have to take the first bite and the last bite. If someone else takes the first bite, it means that they are going to steal your significant other, and if they take your last bite, it means they are stealing your luck.”
The informant who told me about this folk belief was born and raised in Romania until she came to high school in the US. Given the fact that she is a native Romanian, she knows a lot about the customs and traditions of the country, especially due to her large family, and the setting she grew up in from an early age.
Romanians have many folk beliefs about spouses being unfaithful and being either metaphorically or physically “stolen”, as well as many beliefs associated with luck, how to keep it or how to lose it. This folk belief associated with the sharing of food seems to fuse both of these genres together, in a very literal way. Food is very important in Romania and a lot of time and effort goes into making it, so having someone else take the first and last bite of your food may show disrespect and could be the reason for why it has negative connotations.