The Girls Fair of Găina Mountain

Every year, for nearly two centuries, on the closest weekend to St. Elijah holiday (July 20th), at the top of the mountain, takes place the so-called ‘Fair of girls’ from Muntele Găina. Nowadays, this celebration has a lot of modern influences, and yet fascinating are the stories and legends about this unique event.

Many tales speak about the folk of Ţara Moţilor and Crişul Alb Valley heading for the peak at dawn, and the girls wanting to marry would bring their whole dowry with them, in order to attract suitors. Also, the lads looking for a wife tried to impress with their fortunes, an embellished thick belt (şerpare) was highly regarded.

Top picture - Găina Mountain seen from Brad
Statue of Avram Iancu, on the top of the mountain
Tulnic - regional adaptation of
the bucium (wikipedia link)
Traditional folklore music orchestra

The stories also tell of the moment when a girl and a boy would settle upon a marriage, they would exchange scarves as a symbolic pledge before all present and very few girls left the fair unmarried.  The other attendants at the event were more interested in the trading with agrarian products, handmade household items or several food products. Unexceptionally, when evening fell, the fair turned itself into a great traditional festivity, with lots of music and beverages.

The social-economic context of those times do not support this version of the story, because weddings back then were most of the time negotiated by the parents of the couple. Even so, the fair was undoubtedly the place where many youths met each other.

Apart from traditional celebrations, this place is mentioned in a lot of legends regarding a hen laying golden eggs. One of the legends tells that a long time ago, on the top of the mountain, there was a palace of a fairy, who had a golden feathered hen, that made golden eggs. Once a year, an honest but poor girl would receive such an egg as a gift, to have it as a dowry for wedding.

The fairy’s generosity lasted for a long time, until some dwellers of the villages from the base of the mountain, sick of poverty, decided to steal the hen. They managed to slip into the palace and out of it unseen, but when they started to come down through the thick forest, they dropped the precious bird - that quickly flew to the heights. When the fairy heard what happened, she was infuriated and ordered to the servants to tear down the palace and move it to a further away mountain. And ever since, this place is called Muntele Găina (Hen’s Mountain).


Traditional wood products from the fair

How to get here? See routes on the map:

Map section from Apuseni Mountains Guidebook

Photos by Marius Turc.