The Memorial Easter at the Volintiri Cemetery

A significant traditional event where the entire community gathers at the cemetery to honor and remember those who have passed away.

Preparations for the event

In Volintiri, Paștele Blajinilor (The Easter of those who passed away or Memorial Easter) is a particularly important holiday, similar to the tradition throughout the entire country of Moldova.

Preparations for this day begin about a month in advance when people visit the cemetery to clean the graves of their deceased loved ones. These activities include painting crosses, pulling weeds, planting flowers, and, in some cases, drawing crosses from sand. During this period, the town hall organizes a general cemetery cleanup, ensuring that the resting place of the dearly departed is well-maintained.

Traditional customs on Memorial Easter

On Paștele Blajinilor, which takes place on the eighth day after Easter, the community gathers at the cemetery early in the morning. People bring cozonaci (a type of sweet bread) and red eggs, which they place on the graves, and then, after the memorial service, they offer these items to others for the souls of the departed. 

Nowadays, the tradition has become more complex, with items such as cups, plates, scarves, socks, and sweets also being given in memory of the deceased. Recently, there has been a call for the community to return to the ancestral traditions, bringing only cozonaci, red eggs, and candles, which are given to the needy.

Candles are lit on the graves in a glass of wine, which at the end of the service is poured over the graves in the sign of the cross. This day is a moment of reunion for the relatives of the deceased and the only time when the entire community gathers in such large numbers. The priest conducts a memorial service in the middle of the cemetery and reads lists with the names of the deceased, while relatives stand by the graves, listening to the service and commemorating those who have passed away. When the priest sings "Veșnica Pomenire" (Eternal Remembrance), everyone approaches their relatives' graves and lifts the cozonaci several times, after which the gifts brought to the graves are offered to those present in the cemetery. Often, there is an exchange of gifts between neighbours and relatives.

Later, many people leave in groups to one of their relatives' homes to have a meal and remember those who have passed away, while others still spread the dishes right in the cemetery and dine with their relatives there.