Happy Cemetery Săpânța- Maramureș by Cinca Teodora

Located only 18 km from Sighetu-Marmației, near the Romanian-Ukrainian border, close to the Tisa River, the Vesel Cemetery is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the country, being famous for its unique wooden crosses carved and painted in vivid colors, each having inscribed the life story or how the one who is buried there died. Visiting the specific area of ​​Maramureş, you will notice the spirit of life of the people, but also that of joking and cheerfulness, which appear on the crosses in the Cheerful Cemetery. Each cross has in the upper part a carved image that represents an important moment in the life of the deceased; below this a short text or rhyme, in popular words, describing the occupation, pleasures of life, or manner of death of whoever is buried there. Because wood is very important not only in the Maramureș area, famous for its famous gates, but throughout the country, in Săpânta wood has a greater value, that of eternity.

The cemetery, which has become an open-air museum included in the UNESCO Heritage, has more than 800 crosses and stands as a testimony to the fact that no matter how life ended, in the end, we are all human, with good and bad, and everyone’s life displayed on the cross in the Happy Cemetery symbolizes beauty, simplicity, but also the joy of living and leaving something behind for posterity. Certainly death does not scare the Romanian peasant, but is seen as an obvious and natural end, and the cemetery aims to make visitors see death not as something sad, but as a passage beyond, a relief.
Example of a poem written on a cross (only rhymes in Romanian language):

„Under this heavy cross, lies my poor mother-in-law, three days more if she lived, I would be the one dead here. You, who pass by here, try not to wake her up , cause she comes back with her mouth on me. Stay here, my dear mother-in-law”

“A Swiss visitor, Honore Bayard, once wrote in the impression book of the Stan Pătraş museum: Life is beautiful, very beautiful! But here even death seems to be just as beautiful, and that’s thanks to you, master! Thank you for this moment of truth! Truly, the work of Stan Pătraş is a moment of universal truth, a powerful concert of laughter of the disappeared who did not fear death, masterfully mirrored in this work.”