All Saint’s Day

November 1 is All Saint’s Day.

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.

Here in Transylvania it is custom to clean and visit graves for All Saint’s Day. Graves are decorated and candles are lit.

decorated grave










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.






At night there are points of light to be seen through the trees and gravestones.




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!

And there was a pretty cat.


3 responses to “All Saint’s Day

  1. Elizabeth Wiersma

    What an interesting tradition….I think maybe we should try it! I walked through the cemetery here in Zeeland on Sunday….but not yesterday. There was one grave with a happy birthday balloon…maybe there is more now. But, what a great way to think about those we love!!

  2. A fascinating custom. Don’t the Mexicans also do this with their celebrations on the Day of the Dead -whatever that is in Spanish. The kitty was pretty too!

  3. Pingback: My Romanian Top Ten | Romanian Reflections

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s