- Posted June 4, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Remembering the Fallen in Racovita
In the traditional, rural Romanian village of Racovita, there are only about 300 residents. It is one of many such places around the country which are steeped in the Orthodox faith. I was there on a visit to the school and this day was held to honor the war dead (Ziua Eroilior) along with those who had recently passed in town. At the historic church, the preot (Orthodox priest) and all the widows were there, along with the entire elementary school of students and teachers, along with the village's other residents and family. On a sunny and warm day in the church courtyard, we heard scripture, repeated the Lord's Prayer together in Romanian, and then listened to the children from classes1-8 recite poetry to mark the day. They laid wreaths of fresh flowers and greenery from their neighborhood and schoolyard which they'd made that morning for the heroes' gravesites, then at the close of the ceremonies, the ladies offered beverages, sweets and the traditional coliva (a boiled wheat pudding cake for these kinds of rituals which is decorated and eaten communally) as each family member makes one for her lost loved one to share with the congregation. By the way, it was so delicious and the widows who made it were most endearing and friendly, as well as curious about where I'd come from and how I'd connected so with the children there. Here is the recipe for the cake/pudding called coliva :
The entire time, just as many times I've spent among the village locals in Romania, all I could think about were the faces of the people whom I did not wish to ever forget and the feelings that I get from being a small part of their lives and how much I will miss these times when I am far away. They are the soul of Romania and for a while, I was able to share in their old-world life. I wish to return someday to this true heart of Romania to relive the special moments that only these places can afford.