The Merry Cemetery - Sapanta, Maramures


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The Merry Cemetery - Sapanta, Maramures

  1. 1. The Merry Cemetery from Săpânţa - Maramureş
  2. 2. • The original character of the cemetery is first of all suggested by its name: Cimitirul Vesel that means The Merry Cemetery. • This paradoxical name is due to the vivid colours of the crosses and the amusing or satirical epitaphs carved on them.
  3. 3. • Since I was a little boy I was known as Stan Ion Pătraş Listen to me, fellows There are no lies in what I am going to say • All along my life I meant no harm to anyone But did good as much as I could To anyone who asked • Oh, my poor World Because It was hard living in it
  4. 4. • The text from the previous slide, it was an inscription on the cross, so the cemetery is called so. • The unusual feature of this cemetery is that it diverges from the prevalent belief, culturally shared within European societies – a belief that views death as something indelibly solemn. • Connections with the local Dacian culture have been made, a culture whose philosophical tenets presumably vouched for the immortality of the soul and the belief that death was a moment filled with joy and anticipation for a better life (like in Zalmoxianism).
  5. 5. The material used for the crosses is oak, which, after being properly cut and dried, is carved by hand. On the upper part of each cross is a bas-relief with a scene that describes the life of the deceased. The scenes are simple and naive in style, but have an undeniable power: they bring back to life the inhabitants of the village and present their main occupation or a relevant aspect (either a virtue or a flaw) of their life.
  6. 6. The cemetery dates back to the mid-1930′s and is the creation of the local folk artist Stan Ioan Patras, sculptor, painter and poet rolled in one. Patras used all his skills to create this masterpiece. For half a century the master created hundreds of wooden crosses, carved in a distinctive style, so famous today. After his death in 1977, his work has been carried out by his apprentice, Dumitru Pop Tincu.
  7. 7. One famous epitaph is: • Underneath this heavy cross Lies my mother-in-law poor Had she lived three days more I would be here and she would read You that are passing by Try not to wake her up For if she comes back home She’ll bite my head off But I will act in the way That she will not return Stay here my dear Mother-in-law.
  8. 8. Each poem contains the name of the deceased and presents briefly an essential aspect of his/her life, personality or habits; they can even talk about things that happened after the death of the person, at the burial for example, or describe how death occurred. Bad habits are humorously presented, but with a deeply moralizing intent.
  9. 9. No cross is complete without a short poem, a few simple rhymes (between 7 and 17), carved under the image. The epitaphs are written in the local dialect. Sincere, spontaneous and written in the first person, they are messages from the dead persons to the living world. The style is usually lyrical, but ironic or satirical rhymes are also frequent.
  10. 10. The church behind the Merry Cemetery
  11. 11. Theme on Comenius project “Five Senses” Ariana Ivanciu, Dichiseni School, 7th Grade