September 1st, aka "1st Bell" marks the 1st day of school in Moldova. It is a day when the whole school gathers (including a lot of parents) together to honor the start of the new school year with a sort of celebration. All the kids come dressed up (usually in black and white) in very fancy clothes and through a series of speeches (by the Director, Priest, and others) and music all grades get inaugurated to their next grades up.
It is also tradition for the 9th graders to welcome the newest addition to the school: the 1st graders, by walking them to their place in the semi-circle that the students form by grade. That's what's happening in the picture below.
Everyone's listening to the various speeches of success.
Another tradition is for 2 9th graders to hold 2 1st graders (1 girl and 1 boy) on their shoulders and walk them to the entrance to the school while the 1st graders ring a bell (hence "1st Bell") announcing the official start to the new school year.
Then the whole school walks in past them to their various classes before going home. Actual learning starts the next day.
My partner teacher, Natalia, and me. :o]
This is last year's 1st Bell.