Nestled in the small village town of Săpânța in the Maramureş county of Romania, is the beautiful Merry Cemetery, famous for it’s hand carved wooden, colourful headstones.
This beautiful tribute to the villagers lives is now an open air museum and tourist attraction for the region, and it’s easy to see why.
The tombstones, the first of which was made in 1935, was made to be a celebration of life, and that death is a moment filled with joy, and anticipation for a better life. Each tombstone showcases a portrait of the person who passed, doing their job or something they were known for in the village, like owning a farm, sewing, or legal work.
Though we weren’t able to read any of the epitaphs (as they are all written in Romanian), here are some that have been translated to English.
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
And another one that’s a bit funny 🙂
Under this heavy cross
Lies my poor mother in-law
Three more days should she have lived
I would lie, and she would read (this cross).
You, who here are passing by
Not to wake her up please try
Cause’ if she comes back home
She’ll criticise me more.
But I will surely behave
So she’ll not return from grave.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!
It’s such a beautiful place to visit, and is more a place of joy and remembrance of life than it is of death.