Part of The Calendar Art collection of 14 paintings depicting 14 of the most important celebrations of the pastoral Romanian year, all created in chronological order (but not necessarily previewed in this manner here). The inspiration came from the rich culture, traditions and mythology of one of the most authentic Romanian area, Mărginimea Sibiului. After thoroughly studying the landmarks of the celebratory year of the locals, rich in traditions, songs and dances, it’s clear that we’re looking at 3 main cultural layers- the base one, an ancestral religion that’s left only residual information for us, a middle layer of the solar cult (inherited by the cult of Mithra) and the last and most present in today’s collective conscience, the Christian layer (their initiators made a clear effort, at Christianity’s beginnings to change the subject of the “pagan”’s celebrations- instead of celebrating the winter Solstice we celebrate the birth of Jesus, instead of celebrating an old Thracian god of thunder and rain, on the exact day, we celebrate Saint Elijah).
In ancient times, the first day of August was assigned strong totemic valences. Macoveiul Ursului, Ziua Sulului, The Breeding of the Bears, and The Hives’ Macovei are names for the same celebration, relics of pre-Christian holidays that coincided with the beginning of the bear mating season.
According to the ethnologist Ion Ghinoiu, “Maccabees” is a “protective deity of bears, celebrated on August 1st, who took the name of the seven Maccabean brothers, the sons of Salomonia and the martyrs of Eleazar, or of the Holy Martyr Maccabea. At this time of the year, the bears mate and the beekeepers extract the last honey, traditionally used as a cure for diseases.