Meaning: “bedstraw; holy fairies”
We’ve already talked about the Latvian gem Madara, and now there is this spunky Romanian equivalent. Sanziana is a traditional Romanian female name and also the Romanian word for the bedstraw or cleaver flower. But there is far more to Sanziana than just the floral connotations. In Romanian folklore Sânziene are suppose to be sweet gentle fairies. It is also a huge Romanian summer festival that usually occurs on June 24. On this day, the most beautiful maidens of the villages dress in white and go on hunts to collect all the newly bloomed bedstraw or cleaver flowers. During the day, no male is allowed to see them. The girls make wreaths from the bedstraw and at night they return to their villages. It is believed that during their daily sojourn they have been transformed into sanziene fairies. A huge bonfire is created and all the girls get together and form a dance around the fire while throwing all the remains of the previous harvest into the bonfire. No one is allowed to speak to these girls during the ceremony as it is believed that they are possessed by the sanziene and by speaking to them it will anger the spirits. The girls usually keep the wreaths for the following Sanziene. The wreaths are believed to make their land more fertile and it is also believed that by placing the wreath under their pillow, the maidens will dream of their future spouses. The Sânziana form has been long used as a female given name. It is believed that the etymology of the name comes from the Romanian elements sfânt meaning “saint” or “holy” and zână meaning “fairies.” It was first notably used as a name by the 19th century Romanian author Vasile Alecsandri when he used it for one of his title characters in the comedy Sânziana şi Pepelea. It was later adapted into an opera. The name is currently borne by Romanian pop singer Sanziana Niculae.