Christians began celebrating a day of rememberance for unknown martyrs in the 4th century. It was Pope Boniface IV in the 7th century who declared November 1 the day to remember the faithful who have died in an attempt to replace a pagan festival of the dead.
I find this custom very beautiful. Families come together and remember their loved ones. Wandering through the cemetary you see groups of people standing together talking quietly or praying. I imagine them telling stories about how Uncle Levente used to laugh at his own jokes or how Aunt Monica made great sarmale. A rememberance of the dead seems to be a celebration of life.
For those of you who find all of this cemetary talk morbid, here’s a tidbit to cheer you back up: According to one source I read the old folk calendar declared November 1 a day to elect a judge or hire a maid, but one should not do laundry as the dead will get in the water and turn the clothes yellow. What a great day, you get to hire a maid and you don’t have to do laundry!