The objective of the present paper is to compare the symbolical structure of two kinds of rites of passage: funerals and winter customs – as they could be identified in different regions in Oltenia and Moldavia. This analysis points out the social linkage between community and family customs, between the individual and social groups. There were questioned several aspects regarding both types of rituals and their distinct functionalities: symbolical gestures, folk theatre – masks and crosses regarded as sacred signs within the community space (graveyard, crossroads, fountain areas etc.). Thus, the article was structured in three sections: magical and religious aspects of symbolical gift within winter customs; symbolical dramatization and its functions within the rites of passage; memory practices, crosses and their relations to space.
Many connections can be made between the above rites of passage: traditional masks used in winter customs remind of an old ancestors cult; special alms are prepared for the dead as they may return to earth during this time of the year. Some ethnographic regions from Oltenia and Moldavia offer many examples in this regard.