Icy Old Man

Mos Gerila, (Icy Old Man) , the Romanian Communist Party replacement for Mos Craciun (Father Christmas)

New Years Day during Communist Party times was the only day during the holiday season that workers had off. While the workers were at their jobs December 24th and 25th, the kids and the elderly could attend church, but no official celebrations of Christmas were held. It wasn’t until December 31st that Mos Gerila brought gifts to good children. Officially the New Years celebration began on December 30th, the Day of the Republic, which commemorates the day King Michael abdicated in favor of the Communists in 1947.

However in the late 80s the holiday became more of a tribute to Ceausescu.

The Communists aimed to take away the religious aspect of the holiday and the family celebration. The blue coated Mos Gerila would appear at the factory or institution or he would arrive at the House of Culture. A family might go to one of many amusement parks to celebrate the season, yet families did celebrate Christmas at home anyway. The Communists did recognize that citizens were attached to these symbols and were not fully subservient to ideology. It was still requisite that all families participate in the Communist celebrations.

After Ceausescu’s death, Romanians were quick to celebrate the western style “consumerist”Christmas with Father Christmas (Mos Craciun) reinstated. In parts of “Romania Mos Gerila is still revered, simply because this is the only tradition they’ve ever known.

Published by Eric Sorlien

I am 51 and live in Philadelphia USA. I traveled to Romania about 30 years ago and I remember it still.

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