Grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and kids - all of DW television host Lavinia Pitu's relatives will gather on Christmas Eve in the Romanian city of Timisoara for an evening filled with song and food.
Lavinia Pitu works in Germany. She only sees her family in Romania once a year, at Christmas time. So before they all sit down to a meal together, there's plenty of laughter and good cheer.
They may hear caroling groups singing a song from outside: "O ce veste minunata." "Oh, what good news is coming to us from Bethlehem," they sing, moving from house to house. There are also cheerful groups of children who knock on doors and ask for treats - getting sweets or even a little money in return.
"I used to do that as a child," Lavinia recalled. "I used to sing in a youth choir and played guitar. And that was always a special occasion - really lively. Families stand together at the door. You sing to them, giving them your all. And it's mysteriously quiet when there's snow on the ground."
Professional choruses also walk through the streets, singing Romania's most famous Christmas carol.
"There was one orchestra of 30 or 40 musicians who used to wander through the streets of Timisoara," said Lavinia, who becomes especially sentimental when a choir sings the song.
"A choir is like a particularly festive community. That touches me and reminds me of my happy childhood," she added.
When things quiet down outside and the musicians go home, people still sing Romania's Christmas songs at home - perhaps gathered around the Christmas tree. And when the singing stops, people know it must be time to sit down to a big meal together.