(Photo credit: Szigeti Vajk István, www.szigetivajk.com)
Winter had its funeral last weekend in Csíkszentdomokos/Sândominic , as well as in several other parts of Transylvania. The village is part of Székelyföld’s (Szeklerland, Tara Secuilor) Hargita/Harghita county. This year more than a dozen of neighbouring communities celebrated the end of the carnival period together in Csíkszentdomokos, and the village was a proud and welcoming host.
During the carnival procession guests from other villages presented their folk dancing groups, and some of their specific rites as well.
One of the most typical of these rites is the funeral game: “wife” mourns loudly over “dead husband”, there is usually a “funeral service” as well, held by a “priest”, and the ceremony is flavoured sometimes with slightly graphic gestures, showing how important the deceased’s virility was to his wife.
Another interesting ritual is the so called “striking down of the bull”. A man behind a straw dummy portrayed the “bull” and his owner had tried to sell him to several people. His price had been considered to be too high though, so he decided angrily to strike down the useless animal, breaking his head, a clay pot…
The whole carnival procession was accompanied by lively music and dancing, loud cheering and a largely emphasized good mood, to show the victory of life over death, the ever remaining hope of renewal over winter.