Baba Dochia, the romanian legends about the return of spring.4 min read
Is thanks to Ivan if we can speak about this story, very popular in Romania, but not only. The principal character is Dochia and sometimes presented like a beautiful girl, other times like an old lady, but is probably one of the most known legendary figures.
The most famous legends of Dochia are connected with the arrival of the spring. There are lot of versions of the story spread all over Romania but, despite the different regional versions, the sens is the same. Once upon a time, there was an old lady named Baba Dochia. She had a son, Dragobete, a very good and beautiful boy who fell in love with a girl. Their love was so true that they got married immediately and only after the marriage they said the news to Baba Dochia. She got madly furious so, and decided to give a lesson to the girl. So, on a cold winter day, Baba Dochia gave the girl a ball of black wool and asked her to go to the river to wash the wool until turns white, threatening her not to dare to return until the job is finish. The young girl realized that whitening the wool was impossible but she went to the river, hoping for a miracle. Her love for Dragobete was really true and the thought of never seeing him was unbearable, and so she began to wash the wool in the frozen waters of the river. Her hands rapidly began to bleed but the wool, of course, remained black. But suddenly a strange man, touched by the girl’s sadness, came to her and gave her a beautiful red flower saying that if she will put the flower into the water, the wool will turn white. That’s exactly what happened. The girl happy returned home to her love but Baba Dochia, wasn’t too glad about that. When she saw the red flower on to the girl’s blouse, Baba Dochia believed that spring had already come and so she hurried to take her sheep on in the mountains. She took twelve coats on her, but as she climbed the mountains, the weather began to be warmer and warmer and each day she got off one coat until the 12th day when she remained only in a blouse. But in the evening, a cold wind started to blow and winter was still present. Baba Dochia, as well as all her sheep, got frozen and then was turned into stone. And now, on Bucegi Mountains, there are some strange stone formations that represent exactly Baba Dochia and her sheep. Some versions of this story says that the strange man who helped the girl was Martisor, the Messenger of the Spring, who is celebrated on the 1st of March, and other legends, probably influenced by the later Christianization, says that the girl’s name was Martisor and the man who helped her was Jesus Christ.
Some historical legends says instead that Dochia was the beautiful daughter of Decebal, the king of the brave Dacians, Romanian’s ancestors. After being defeated by the Romans in 106 AD, the Dacians tried to escape hiding in the forests of the Carpathians. The king Decebal, seeing his army defeated, preferred to commit suicide rather than being captured by the Romans. His daughter, Dochia, tried to escape but the Emperor Traian ordered to his best soldiers to capture the beautiful girl. But she was a brave girl, and Dochia ran as fast as she could. For her, there wasn’t a greater shame than being captured and then forced to marry the Emperor. So, when Dochia saw she was on the edge of being caught, she climbed on a steep rock and threw herself. Even today, that mountain rock wears the princess’s name and tourists can admire it on their way to Ceahlau Peak.
The most interesting part of this legends are the historic references, and the events really happened and very important for history of Romania. Events like the war between Dacians and Romans, and Bucegi and Ceahlau Mountains, two Dacian holy places often compared to Athos or Olympus. In Romania, the first days of March are considered days of a new beginning or Baba Dochia’s Day.