Zână (plural zâne; zînă and zîne, d̦ână and d̦âne in old spellings) is the Romanian equivalent of the Greek Charites or fairy Godmother.[1] They are the opposite of monsters like Muma Pădurii. These characters make positive appearances in fairy tales and reside mostly in the woods. They can also be considered the Romanian equivalent of fairies and of the Germanic Elf.

They give life to fetuses in utero and bestow upon them great gifts like the art of dancing, beauty, kindness, and luck. In folk tales, it is told not to upset them because they also have the power to do bad things or put a curse on the wrongdoer. They also act like guardian angels, especially for children who enter the woods, or for other good people.

The word zână comes from the Roman goddess Diana (as does Astur-Leonese xana). She is the one who has all the beauty, and is the one that gives it away.

Zână is also used in current Romanian slang to refer to an attractive girl, though it is not necessarily the kindest way to do so.


  1. Luminița Frențiu (12 November 2012). A Journey through Knowledge: Festschrift in Honour of Hortensia Pârlog. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 174–. ISBN 978-1-4438-4268-6.

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