The Happy Cemetery

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The Happy Cemetery

The Happy Cemetery

Close to the Ukrainian border in northwest Romania, the Happy Cemetery dates back to 1935 and contains about 800 headstones. The Happy Cemetery in Sapanta, also called "The Folk Art Museum", is a fresco of community life, unique in the world, where the dead are celebrated with humorous poems recalling their lives.


The headboards are sculptured from wood and the primitive painted images reflect the most important or best-known times of the deceased.


They are the creation of sculptor Stan Patras, the successor of several generations of wood artists who have passed their trade from father to son. After Stan Patras’ death, his apprentice took over the work.

The epitaphs show the sense of humor of Romanian peasants; often ironical, depicting part of the deceased’s life in an anecdote. Folk rhymes, carved into wood, describe the deceased’s problems, foibles, perhaps his or her   occupation. On each cross the dead person is painted in bright colors in an important moment of his or her life. Crosses are painted mostly in blue, the symbol of hope and freedom.

The overall impression one gets from the Happy Cemetery is the realization that life will be remembered and cherished, even in death.


January 10, 2008 new by (1 point)

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