Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – X / 2010


The sacred dimension of the funeral feast is defining, as at the basis of all such feasts there lies the idea that in the afterlife the deceased shall continue its existence just like in the world of the living and consequently it needs all the elements it needed when alive. The funeral feasts, referred to in Romanian by the word praznice (of Slavic origin) mediate thus the transcendentalization of all goods offered by family members to be used by the deceased.

The first mention in a Romanian document of the temporal cycle of the funeral feasts dates back to the 15th century, in a document issued by Stephen the Great. All later documents, such as the lists of funeral expenses, confirm the cycle thereof, carried out both with the occasion of the funeral, and thereafter, at three, nine, 20 and 40 days since the decease. There follows, usually the half year commemorative feasts, but the three-month and the nine-month feasts were also found. Yearly feasts were also carried out each year during the first seven years following the decease, when the remains of the body were exhumed. All these customs have survived unchanged until now in the Romanian villages of Moldavia.

Generally, with any occasion that might come up, especially a celebrative one, the ancestors were to receive their part on the other world, where they eat and drink as they used to do on earth. The mental universe of the archaic world has been preserved in the Romanian traditional village and persisted in the Romanian society until full modernity, and nowadays it can still be identified in the rural universe, where the memory and the connection with the ancestors is still alive.