Mucenici is a Christian feast of the 40 Martyrs of Sebaste, a traditional holiday in Romania and Moldova. It coincides with the start of the agricultural year.
Some believe that when the Martyrs were drowned, flowers rose to the surface. As a result, for the date of 9 March, every, year, there is a typical dessert with the same name, Mucenici. The desserts are made in the figure 8 to look like garlands. Others believe that the figure 8 denotes a stylized human form of the martyrs themselves.
In Moldova, dough in the shape of the figure 8 is baked, then smeared with honey and walnuts.
In the Muntenia and Dobrogea regions of Romania, the dough is smaller and cooked in water with sugar, cinnamon and crushed nuts, symbolizing the lake where the Martyrs were cast.