Dragobete – The Lost Pagan God of Love
The Lost Pagan God Dragobete was a protector of joy, love and fertility. This pagan god had different dates of celebration in different areas and those dates were sometime between the 24th of February and the 25th of March.
He announced people the long winter was coming to its end and the sunny weather was approaching.
The old Dacian feast was more of a fertility ritual, local human community following the lead of the blooming nature.
His name comes from the Dacian (Roumanian)word “trago” (this meant “he” which was a symbol of vitality and fecundity) and “pede” (legs).
When people turned to Christianity, Dragobete became a genuine symbol of spring and pure love.
People believed that Dragobete or Iovan Dragobete (as he was known in some parts of the country) was a handsome nice lad, son of the hateful Baba Dochia.
So he was a positive character, a solar good symbol in opposition to his old lady, Baba Dochia, embodiment of hateful and cold elements of winter.
Dragobete was a rogue god with a typical Balkan volcanic character, somehow similar to the Greek Eros and who used to play tricks to young people.
A legend says he was turned into a flower – hart’s tongue – by Virgin Mary as he dared to annoy Her too (this legend is a clear example of the mixture of religious and pagan elements and characters).
Ancient Dacian population believed Dragobete was the animals’ godfather and that he was the one to officiate the beasts’ weddings up in the sky.
In time he became the symbol and protector of love, fertility and of the entire blooming nature – including plants, animals and humans too.
The legend has it that people who get engaged on the 24th of February (Dragobete’s Day) would be happy, joyful and remain deeply in love with each other for the whole year round.
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