On April 23rd I celebrated Memorial Easter with my host family. So some might ask, what is Memorial Easter. Well, it is a celebration for your loved ones who have passed away.
My host mom informed me a couple days prior that we would be going to one cemetery where her mother, brother and grandmother are buried, and my host dad would be going with his side of the family to a different cemetery in town. And one thing my host mom told me several times is the cemetary that her family is in is also the Roma cemetary, and there are lots of Romas. I found it funny that she really wanted to point this out to me.
So we got up on Monday morning, called cab and met up with my host moms side of the family at her daughters house. From their we walked to the cemetery, with flowers and food in hand. We made it to their amiy plot and I watched as they set out the food, smal gifts and flowers over all 3 of the graves. We had a few glasses of wine and waited for the priest to come over and bless the food. We waited about 30 minutes and in that time we visited with the other family’s around us, gave gifts from the deceased, and took shots of wine. The priest then came, blessed our food and said prayers for the people who had died. After we made our way back to my host moms, daughters house, where we continued our meal.
On the way out of the cemetery I was very impressed at how much stuff some family’s brought with them, and how elaborate the meals and headstones were. As I was taking pictures, one Roma famiyl asked about what I was doing and who I was in Russian. My host mom responded in telling them that I was an American living with her for 2 years, they then insisted on me taking a shot of vodka with them and gave me a colored egg and some special Easter bread before I went on my way.
O zi buna!