Spring Old Ladies and Grandfathers

Spring Old Ladies (baba; babe; grandmothers) are personifications of the first 9 days of March and it is believed that they will give you an indication of how the year will look like for you. Old Ladies are very present characters in Romanian folklore, associated with wisdom and magical powers, but they are also capricious characters, who can be hateful.

The first 9 days of March are considered Spring Old Ladies because they are capricious and changeable, as is the weather at the beginning of spring.

Every girl and woman chooses a baba. The way you choose your baba differs from region to region. In some areas, everyone can choose their grandmother on Martisor day, on March 1, when they put their first martisor on their chest or hand. In other areas, it is impolite to say that you “choose” your grandmother – because she is, in fact, determined by your date of birth. Thus, if the date you were born is between 1 and 9, that is your grandmother. If the date is greater than 9, the two digits must be added. For example, for someone born on the 16th, 1+6=7, so baba ii is on the 7th, and for someone born on the 29th, 2+9=11, and 1+1=2, so baba ii is on the 2nd.

They say that as your baba is, so will be your year. If the day is sunny, warm and pleasant, your year will be bright and full of joy. If your day is gloomy, rainy, dark and sad, so will your year, with upsets, disappointment and sadness. But if it happens that it snows on your grandmother’s day, your year will be full of abundance.

In some areas, grandfathers follow after the babes. They are between 10 (equivalent to 1) and 18 (equivalent to 9), and, just as women chose a grandmother, men also tie a grandfather, who in turn will predict how the year will be.

Spring Old Ladies are related to the legend of Baba Dochia, the one with 9 husks. That’s why, on sunny days, it is said that “baba threw away her husks”, and on those when it snows, it is said that “baba shakes her husks”. At the end of the 9 days, when Baba Dochia threw away all her 9 husks, it is considered that spring has come, and that the bad weather has passed.