November 29 - December 2
Blood sausage with Roquefort cheese sauce, garlic puree and toasted farmhouse bread
Garlic cream soup with bacon powder
Pumpkin cream with curry, lightly spiced
*Soups come with flavored croutons
Duck leg confit with black lentils, beetroot puree, horseradish and baked garlic cove
Tea with garlic flavour
Coliva - ritual dessert - with honey and garlic infusion
Autumn pie with quince, apple, pear and anise flavour.
Bran Castle, a faithful defender of Romanian traditions and customs, proposes to its visitors a trip to the past with the intention of creating a new tradition for the future. From November 29th until December 2nd, 2018, the "All Undead Party" will be held at the Bran Castle. We will say goodbye to all the evils and all the worries of the year and we will prepare for the winter holidays.
In those days, the ”Casa de ceai” Restaurant will prepare a special menu where the star ingredient is garlic. Garlic will be found in the cup of tea, or in the traditional “coliva “ . Served with curry pumpkin cream, a bit spicy, with autumn fruit pie and aniseed flavour while the ripe garlic clove will carefully guard the leg of duck on a bed of black lentils and beetroot puree spiced with horseradish! For courage, the Chateau Bran wines and the brandies of Bran will be displayed prominently.
Visitors to Bran Castle bearing St. Andrew's name will not need an access ticket on November 30, 2018, just an identity document.
The old Romanian beliefs say that the Romanians celebrate St. Andrew’s Day on November 30th, when autumn and winter meet, and when, according to popular belief, the Strigoi, troubled spirits of the dead, are trying to take possession of human souls and the Moroi leave the grave to draw energy from the living. This is the night when the heavens open, wolves howl, protection rituals are performed, and young women dream of their soulmate.
St. Andrew's Night or Strigoi's Night is a fearful night, as it is believed that the spirits of the dead come out of the graves and along with the Strigoi, are fighting at the mythical borders, crossroads and other unclean places. There are bloody duels with stolen seals from people's homes; the battles last until the cockerel crows, heralding the dawn. At dawn the earth feels purified, the spirits of the dead are returned to their graves and the spirits of the Strigoi go back to their abandoned bodies. People use garlic in order to protect themselves against the attack of the Strigoi, and Moroi that are trying to steal their souls.
At night, the ritual "guarding of the garlic" takes place, that is, people are watching between garlic braids, a plant that is believed to be able to banish the undead, the evil influences and the bad luck. Crosses at the windows are made of garlic ,the horns of the cattle are anointed with garlic oil and the food is abundantly flavoured with garlic . In the popular belief, it is believed that garlic is a man: he has a head, is wearing clothes, and the garlic threads are called cloves. The power to defend and expel evil comes from bearing the sign of the cross.
Also on the night of St. Andrew, the Romanians germinate wheat to find out if they will have a prosperous year, good luck and health or a year marked by difficulties. In the New Year they check whether the wheat grains are tall, straight, strong and dense . In this case, there will be a prosperous year with good harvests. The Romanians also believe that St. Andrew is the patron of the wolves, as an avatar of a pagan goddess who died and was symbolically reborn in the Night of the Strigoi. According to the great philosopher Mircea Eliade, the birth of the Romanian people was under the sign of the merger of two peoples who were drawing their origins from the mythical wolf: the Dacians and the Romans. In fact, the Dacian New Year began in this night, with the mythical wolf symbol.
Christianity placed the wolves under the control of the two brothers, Peter and Andrew, believing that they "have the power to bind the mouth of the wolves," to suppress the temptations of Paganism. In the context of the Christian faith, the wolf changes its positive meaning, a totem favourable to the pagan population, becoming a werewolf, bent on revenge. That is why St. Andrew's Day is also called the Wolves Day, and it is believed that only on this day of the year the wolf can turn his head.