To say my days here are “normal” is a bit of a stretch. Today is Ziua Morților, Luminație or the Day of the Dead. What happens on the day of the dead is that families first attend a church service and then go to their loved ones graves and illuminate them with a plethora of candles. Children go “trick or treating” if you will from grave to grave and the family members that have posted up camp at their beloved one’s tomb pass out candy. Adults go around the cemetery and visit each other and when they arrive to a grave, they are offered cakes and țuica (the national drink of the country aka moonshine).
Today, school was let out at noon so everyone can make it to the church service that was being held at 12:30. Around 6pm, Loredana, Teo, and myself headed out to see how illuminated everything actually was. The first cemetery we went to is one that I have never seen before. It is extremely secluded and on a fairly large and steep hill. When we got to the top, I was to say the least stunned. There were little flickering lights as far as the eye could see! Some graves had anywhere up to a dozen candles of varying sizes scattered across the graves.
When looking down at the town from the top of the hill, one place in particular stood out and that was the big luminous Orthodox church in the center. What was most noticeable about the church wasn’t so much the church itself but what was occurring around the church. There was what looked to be a sea of red swaying like grains of sad in a wind. After reaching the church, the discovered that the sea of red was hundreds of little red candles scattered across all the graves.
My entire life I have been afraid of death and have always had near panic attacks when coming anywhere near a cemetery let alone entering one. Something about this day and the jovial environment around it helped ease my fears and I had no problem walking around and taking in the beautiful traditions of this day.
We ended our night with some placinte cu mere (apple strudels) and goofing around in the shadows.