Summer customs

The Calus Dance - the Pentecost

Category: customs with changing date (Pentecost to celebrate the eighth Sunday after Easter)
Date of event: Eighth Sunday after Easter
Participants: groups of calus (Căluș) dancers

The holy day of Pentecost or The Descending of the Holy Spirit is a feast with changing date, celebrated 50 days after Easter .
Pentecost (Fairies, Falcon Women - Şoimanele) are mythical female representations who descend on earth and punish those who don̕ t pay them respect.

In the "Folk Calendar" an entire week is dedicated to them, under the interdiction to work and have household activities, otherwise people will experience pain in their hands and feet or a "mind disease".

To cure these diseases, people must dance the calus dance the entire week.

Calus is an ancient dance ancient of pre-Christian origin. Calus was an equine god of Indo-European origin, protector of the horses and of the warm season, who was symbolically born and then died in the week of Pentecost. This dance, only performed by men, consisted of gestures imitating the paces of the horse.

The dance has been documented in North and South of the Danube, being performed by the Romanians, the Aromanians and the Megleno-romanians and its spreading area overlaps part of the territories inhabited by Thracians.

The calus dancers are a group of men, always in odd number, who perform this specific dance.

The calus is an ample ritual consisting of several stages:
- The Pentecost Wednesday – the Wednesday of the fourth week after Easter, when they start repeating the calus dances.
- the choosing of the flag - is the ceremony of the symbolic birth of Calus and the day when the Silent and the Bailiff are nominated.
- The Raising the flag
- the decoration of the stick with a white cloth, wormwood and garlic.
- The Pledge - is made on the Saturday on the eve of the Pentecost.
- The Calus dance – starts on the Pentecost Sunday and lasts all the following week.
- The Breaking of the calus – also called "The breaking of the flag" or "The Absolution" is performed at night, in secret, in the same place where the oath was made. It is also known as "The Burial of Calus" because the flag is broken and let flow on the water or buried.

In Craiova, on the Pentecost Sunday, people gather to attend the "The Oltenian Calus Parade", an event where bands of calus dancers are invited from all over Dolj county or from the counties where this ritual dance is performed

Obs. For further documentation, see Archive of CJCPCT Dolj (

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