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Death customs

Death represents eternal rest in the general thinking. Those left alive must find comfort in the thought that the missing ones are in peace and that they will meet in the afterlife. Compassion for the mourners is expressed by means of the following: “Sincere Condolences, May God Rest him in Peace!”

Old time funerals are in so many ways different from those of today. After someone’s death, church bells are rung so that the entire village community is announced that someone has just passed away. The body of the dead one is washed by a family member, dressed in dark clothes, and on the head of the dead men is placed a black hat. The eyes of the deceased are closed, and the chin and legs are fixed. In the coffin, a pillow is placed under the head of the dead one and a towel on the belly.

The Wake usually takes two nights. Participants at the wake are served with cake (“cozonac”) and plum brandy (“pălincă”). During the wake, next to the coffin there stand the close relatives, the cantor and men singing. The funeral takes place in the third day. One hour before the funeral ceremony, church bells are rung four times.

The priest and cantor walk in front of the procession, followed by men, people carrying flower wreaths, flags, the coffin, the mourning family, with women ending the procession. After leading the one that passed away to the final resting place, people are served with cake (“cozonac”) and plum brandy (“pălincă”) at the cemetery’s gate being invited to the funeral feast offered in honour of the dead one.

The mourning does not have the same duration for everyone, but it is usually kept for one year. The memory of the late one is kept by the gravestone, elevated after the funeral. The name of the deceased is marked on the gravestone, as well as the date of birth and death, and the name of the one keeping alive his memory. Most of the times, the inscription starts like thus: “Here lies …” and ends like this “May he/she rest in peace”. On some gravestones pictures of the late one can be seen. In the village it is believed that one should not pull the flowers grown on a grave site.