The Offering …

The dawn is breaking … slowly as if the night is not ready to let go yet. Ghostly shapes emerge from the frozen morning mist. Women! Some alone, some in pairs, some young, some old, walking slowly, but with firm steps, towards the resting place of the departed. Always the women, never the men.

A candle is lit, then another, and another… lively yellow glimmers everywhere. They all seem alive, and the worlds are intertwined. Incense smoke slowly engulfs the ancestors’ resting place. Long-forgotten prayers are softly whispered as if not to disturb their slumber. They are all named, the known and the forgotten, in a rite passed down from century to century, from one generation of women to another. Everyone belongs in the world they were born into, lived in and passed away from. The living and the dead are connected in a transcendental exchange of love and memories. As an offering, the broken pieces of the incense clay pot are laid on the ground beside the burial site of the named one. Year by year, ritual by ritual, more and more broken pieces will pile near the cross until no one is left to give the incense offering.

The village is more and more lively. Buns, kneaded and baked the day before in the hot ovens, are blessed with candles and prayers from immemorial times. Sweet bread, grapes, apples and nuts are gifted from home to home, accompanied by a Bogdaproste (May God rest his/her soul).

Slowly the night descends, engulfing the village. The living return to their lives, the ancestors are called back to the spirit world.

All these rites are no longer practiced today; only memories remain. Their time has passed. No one has carried them further.
Offerings are no longer given to the earth.