A Unique Cemetery With Poems and Jokes Written on Tombstones

By | March 5, 2017

A well-known cemetery in the village of Săpânța, Maramureş county, Romania, called Merry Cemetery, is a cemetery that is famous across the world for its unique way of looking upon death. It is not a sad event, but it is a celebration of life that has ended.

Distinguished for its colourful tombstones, the naïve paintings on it describe the people entombed there including scenes from their lives in a poetic and original manner.

Merry Cemetery 1

Stan Ioan Patras was the man who started the tradition of these crosses in 1935. He was a woodworker, a poet and a painter.

Merry Cemetery 2

For over 50 years, Ion Patras designed hundreds of crosses and tombstones.

Merry Cemetery 3

Merry Cemetery 4

Patras carved the crosses out of oak and painted them blue, sprinkling in bits of color like red, yellow or black. He painted the crosses in order to protect them from rain and frost, thus making them last longer.

In the upper part, there is a painting that depicts the person who passed away, while underneath, is a poem. Patras would usually write these little poems himself after getting to know the deceased through his/her family. As of the 1960s, more than 800 of such oak wood crosses came into sight.

Merry Cemetery 5

An exceptional feature of this burial ground is that it differs from the prevalent belief which is culturally shared within European societies – something that views death as indelibly solemn.

Merry Cemetery 6

Merry Cemetery 7

Stan Ioan Pătraş carved the crosses until his death in 1977. This is his tombstone.
Merry Cemetery 8

And this is the poem carved on his tombstone:

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

But some of the epigraphs are often darkly 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 her grave.

Stay here, my dear mother-in-law!

H/T TheVintageNews