In the small village of Săpânţa in Maramureş County, Romania, sits Cimitirul Vesel, the "Merry Cemetery." Unlike cemeteries in other parts of Romania, the Merry Cemetery is filled with wooden headstones, each one carved, brightly colored, and inscribed with a sometimes irreverent poem. It's a place that looks on the lighter side of death.
Death in the neighboring regions is considered a wholly solemn enterprise, but in 1935, local artist Stan Ioan Pătraş carved the first headstone, and within decades hundreds such decorations filled the cemetery. The headstones (headwoods?) depict the people buried below with scenes from their lives. The poetic inscriptions sometimes take a tongue-in-cheek approach to life and death, and some of them are outright funny. According to Wikipedia, this is one such inscription:
Under this heavy cross
Lays my poor mother in-law
Three more days she would have lived
I would lay, 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'll behave so well
That she'll not return from hell.
Stay here, my dear mother in-law!
Today, the Merry Cemetery is open to the public as an open-air museum and tourist attraction, but I suspect it's a tad more amusing if you can read Romanian.
Top Photo Credit: Remus Pereni.
Photo Credit: Remus Pereni
S Photo Credit: Remus Pereni
Photo Credit: Adam Jones
S Photo Credit: Adam Jones