How Was A Romanian Village Built – Choosing the Right Place for a New Village
The place for settling a new village wasn’t randomly chosen. If domestic animals were released and they showed strange manifestations, then the place was not proper for an establishment. Otherwise, they were choosing the site by shooting a bow, or by throwing a stick.
The key moment in the Romanian village foundation was stabbing the stick into the ground. The man in charge with finding the site had to be a father, without any physical defects, and healthy. In other Romanian villages, peasants used to build a cross instead doing the stick ritual.
The stick is the fundament of the new village. The houses were built around it. If the village had a good position, then everyone would bless it, otherwise they would leave it.
Next, they would establish the productive land, an area which had to be large enough to meet their need for food. A man would surround the settlement (Vatra Satului) by foot or on the horseback. The productive land was equal to the area that man would cross in one day and one night.
Striking the semantron is one of the Romanian traditions often practiced when setting the borders. The Borders of the productive land (Hotar) were established where the sound faded out and one couldn’t hear it anymore. This served as a way of communicating at a distance. Once established, the borders were absolute. The peasants believed that the land outside the borders wasn’t safe. No one was allowed to put his house or sleep at the border. The space inside was safe, but whoever crossed the borders wasn’t home anymore.
These beliefs gave birth to a lot of legends and fantastic stories. A generalized fear of walking at the Hotar at night still exists in the Romanian countryside today.