On the Lighter Side: Romania’s “Witch Tax” (and be careful if you are a soccer referee)

Bratara Buzea, a Romanian witch who was imprisoned under Ceausescu. Photo Vadim Ghirda

By Joseph Laycock, from Religion Dispatches

On January 1, Romania implemented new tax codes that, among other changes, added the occupation of “witch” to the nation’s labor codes. Those charging clients for tarot readings, curses, and blessings must now pay a 16 percent income tax and make contributions to health and pension programs. The ire of the witches, some of whom responded by performing rituals to hex the government, has become fodder for scores of offbeat news stories throughout the west.

Many witches see themselves as loyal Romanians and conduct rituals to protect their country from natural disasters. In 2004, a ritual was done to curse Swiss referee Urs Meier, whose decision had cost Romania a qualifying match against Denmark for the European Football Championship. The hex was not fatal, but was intended to cost Meier his ability to whistle.

via Romania’s “Witch Tax”: Magic Meets Bureaucracy | Culture | Religion Dispatches.

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