Also known as Pomana de voie (Voluntary alms), Pomana din timpul vieţii (Alms during one self’s lifetime) or Sărindarul pentru vii (Priest’s prayer for the living ones), the ritual and ceremonial practice analyzed within the present study may be encountered all over the country. It represents an archaic, universally spread funeral custom that has persisted from antiquity until nowadays, being performed by all social categories, irrespective of their material condition. Usually, alms gifts are offered for the benefit of the living ones. However, there are examples of giving alms for both the living and the dead on the same occasion. Priests say their prayers for both categories, as the finality is the same, namely providing a pleasant atmosphere in the underworld. Although some have considered them desperate or hopeless, the performers of this custom are in fact persons who have the faith that acting in this manner would help them have a restful passage from one world to another. Far from being an embodiment of “a new death mythology”, pomana de viu (alms while alive) represents just an aspect of traditions persisting over centuries.
Keywords: diptych, alms table, alms house, sărindar houses, water alms.
Cuvinte-cheie: pomelnic, masa pomenilor, casa de pomană, casele-sărindar, pomana apei.