Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Paștele Blajinilor

My favorite Moldovan celebration is Paștele Blajinilor (Easter Memorial, or Easter for the dead... loose translations), which takes place over 2 days - the Sunday and Monday following Orthodox Easter. It's when the cemeteries all over Moldova (and other Eastern European countries, i'm told) come alive with family, friends, food, and drink at loved ones' graves. Every grave (to my knowledge) in Moldova has a permanent picnic table and benches set up just for this occasion. 

How it works: You go to the cemetery with your foods and drinks. Set up your table. Decorate your loved ones' graves. Wait for the priest to come by to bless it and to spray you with holy water. Then everyone eats and drinks and socializes. People walk around with bottles of their casa de vin (house wine) and offer shots of it to everyone's definitely the fastest way to get...tipsy...because everyone's just pouring you shots left and right. 

I love it for a lot of reasons, one of the main ones is because it's a truly authentic holiday that just can't be replicated anywhere else. It's unique to Moldova (and a few other countries). I also love cemeteries...and it really is a beautiful thing when a place for the dead comes so alive with celebration! 

I got to take part in it again this past Monday with Mama-G at her parents' cemetery in the village she grew up in :o]

I love that they grow plants over the grave sites. Another example of abundance of life in their cemeteries!

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