With the Romanians, the goat was believed to be the animal that could show if the weather was to be fine or foul. Most certainly at first the "capra" dance (the kiling, the mourning, the burial, the resurection) was a solemn ceremony, a part of the cult. As part of the agrarian festivities the dance has become a ritual designed to bring fertility in the coming year, an increase in the number of animals in the shepherds’ flocks, bumper crops - invoked and evoked by the grains flung by the host over the procession of the „capra".

The "capra" dance, generalized all over the country by the end of the 19th century and considered a pagan dance, a lot of members of the clergy refused to receive the procession in their houses, considering it „forbidden by the Christian religion". (Gr.Tocilescu) Nowadays the dance is only a pretext for one of the traditional artistic events, an opportunity for displaying beautiful ornaments, carpets, towels, and so on, all in bright colours, at times rather loud, to cheer up the householders and to express best wishes on the occasion of the New Year. In the villages and townships of Maramureº - two distint types of this dance are performed:

  • the "capra" dance - based only on a musical accompaniament (at Ieud, only one piper; at Botiza, four or six pipers)
  • the "capra" dance included in a complex folk show.
The same as in the other dances with masks performed during the winter holidays, in the "capra" dance, besides the classical masks, the goat, the shepherd, the gipsy, the woodman masks of „devils" and of „greybeards" were introduced, where yells, lusty cheers, funny gestures, intensified the cheerful, humorous aspect, at times lending it a nuance of grotesque.

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