Popular tradition - a set of customs, traditions and beliefs that steadfastness in the social or national groups, which are transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth, each group contributing by its specific trait.
In Northwestern Oltenia many popular customs and traditions have been kept, but the most significant is Pitaraii popular custom with masks, which usually takes place on Christmas Eve.
This usually consists of carolling the entire village, by the youngest children accompanied by parents or grandparents. During the procession of Pitarai (the carolers) a significant role it is represented by the „old men and ladies” wearing costumes and masks made from sheepskin in particular.
Everyone prepared for the Pitarai day long before. Mothers, grandmothers prepared the pouch, the knapsack in which people gathered the hogmanays that were made at home by the housewives, just the night before Christmas Eve.
And when the pouch was ready, wool woven made, they attached to it a tricolor strap to be put on their shoulders, which very often hanged to the knees.
The second item never missing during pitarai custom is the carol stick. And it was no pitarau (caroler) who had no pouch and carol stick. Otherwise they were not allowed to shout „A ha hai, am venit in Pitarai!” („A ha hai, we came in Pitarai!).
The carol stick is made of hazel wood. They bring from the wood twigs of hazel about the thickness of a thumb, cut them according to the height of the one who uses it, it is peeled with a knife and it is kept beside the stove a few days to dry. After that it is wrapped with linden from end to end and then smoked. Where is the linden strap it remains white and in the rest the carol stick is black.
For the boys who wear masks, preparations start since the Easter, when the lambs are sacrificed and their furrings are taken and tawed for then to be transformed into masks for the Pitarai carolers.
Lamb and sheep skins are adorned with multicolored tassels, animal horns, some more spectacular than others.
Besides the masks worn on the head, young people are dressed in ancient popular costumes.
The procession leaves from the south end of the village. Children are those who shout call out "the old men and ladies” who go in the morning in the hills around the village to dress.
Starting from the first house in the village and to the last, all people participate in the procession of Pitarai. The ones leading the procession are the youngsters dressed in ,,old men and old women ", forming a group of twenty or even more. They are the first to enter the courtyard of people, rake up the embers in the bakestone with the carol stick and say: Bread as the table / The table as the house / Who’s in the house live long / What’s outside spring forth / The fat and lard pigs / To be eat by healthy people / For the next year and many years from now on!
After they finish caroling, they receive coils and plum brandy, then the children come who receive felloes, apples, walnuts, and finally other householders who accompanied the procession, receive a pipkin of wine or plum brandy.
Each house receives the carolers, then accompanies them in the procession to the other end of the village, where in the evening the whole villagers gather for the round dance where young people who wore masks can be seen by the entire village, as they unfold masks.
Children, after they bring the pouches home, organize in groups of four-five to go from house to house singing carols this time „Green silk tassel / Let us in your house / Because it rains and flows outside ..."
Late at night fiddlers bands come to the windows to carol „Wake up, wake up goodmen / You children and people / Carolers are coming / At night at singers...”
Carols sung by musicians echoe throughout the village until dawn.