Monday, October 24, 2011

Moldova: A village funeral

A funeral procession for an elderly woman in Giurgiulesti
Within hours of arriving in the southern-most village in Moldova, called Giurgiulesti, I saw a funeral procession along the main street, the only paved street in the village.

The funeral was for an elderly lady and it included her family and friends as well as the priest -- walking along the edge of the busy street -- carrying her open casket -- on their way to the village cemetery. At the very back of the procession, a woman carried a metal bucket full of wine -- that she gave to people along the procession route as they made their way to the graveyard.
The open casket is carried by loved ones.

 I visited the cemetery earlier in the day and was told by my colleague that each Monday after Easter -- the entire village gathers at the cemetery to honor their dead relatives -- there are even picnic tables set up among the gravestones -- where the families bring a feast of food to celebrate the life of their loved ones.
Picnic tables are set up at many family tombstones for the after-Easter feast.

Some families also have feasts at the cemetery on the anniversary of their loved ones' death.  Wine is very important in this ceremony as well -- with the family sharing wine together and pouring wine on the grave.

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