Sanziene celebration or how people still believe in magical practices

Sanziene, the magical celebration, the beginning of summer

Sanziene is celebrated in Romania every year on 24th of June. Although it is associated with the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, Sanziene is a pagan celebration which origins in an old Dacian solar cult. In some places in Romania the celebration is also known as “the head of summer”. Sanziene represents the beginning of summer; it is celebrated only at three days after the summer solstice under the sign of the Sun. This date also represents the middle of the year. People used to believe that this is the day when the Sun loiters on the sky watching the maidens and the boys how they dance. That is why the day is longer than the night.

Some people say that the name of Sanziene comes from the Roman goddess of forests and hunting Santa Diana. Others associate the celebration name with the little white or yellow flowers with a sweet and very delicate scent named Sanziene.

Sanziene, Pure Romania


Sanziene night is a magical night when the heaven opens and our world gets in contact with the mystical one. It is said that in the Sanziene’s Eve people can see the magical beings with the same name. In Romanian folklore Sanziene are imaginary, fantastic maidens who descend on Earth to dance and celebrate the summer. They are kind and beautiful and despite Rusalii or Iele, other mythical beings, Sanziene are auspicious, bring  fertility to women, animals and birds, give to flowers scent and magical powers, heal people’s diseases and sorrows and protect the crops from bad weather. In the night before the celebration Sanziene can be seen dancing in forests and on fields. It is said that whoever sees them dancing will be mute or will go crazy.

In honor of this celebration people light big fires on hills and dance around them. In some villages people surround their houses, stables and fields with lit torches in order to cast away evil spirits. It is believed that the ones who surround the fire or passes through it will be protected during the whole year from diseases and will be wealthy and happy. After the midnight the fires are extinguished and people go to their houses in silence. This is the moment when the souls of the dead people and the magical beings are allowed to wander in this world. In the morning, on 24th of June the maidens used to bathe in dew collected from virgin places from Sanziene petals.



Sanziana flower (Gallium verum or Gallium mollugo – depending on the white or yellow color of the flower) is a plant that grows on fields, with small flowers, full of pollen, beautifully scented, which blooms around the summer solstice during the ripening of the grains. It has numerous uses in medicine and cosmetics. That is why the Romanian mythology gave it mystical properties. It is used in the magical practices performed on the night before Saint John the Baptist celebration. If a young girl places it under her pillow that night she would surely dream about her destined one. Sanziana flower is also an agricultural mark. Depending on the moment when it blooms the people know if the crops are ready to be harvested or not.

People make wreaths of Sanziene flowers which they throw on the house while they make a wish. It is said that if the wreath stays on the house the wish will come true, if it falls on the ground the wish will not fulfill.

In many areas in Romania Sanziene is still celebrated and people still believe that if they do not celebrate it properly then they will be punished by the magical beings.


Article by Andreea Andrei


  • Catalina Constantin
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