As part of being a volunteer with the Peace Corps, we had to go back to our pre-service training sites for two weeks to complete our 8 weeks of training. And so I packed and re-packed what I could carry to the autogara to stay with my first host family in Magdacesti during the last phase of pre-service training.
I was so grateful to head back to visit them again as I feel very much at home when I am there and enjoy spending time with them. The day I arrived I had the opportunity to go with my host family to a Nunta, which is wedding ceremony. Their cousin was getting married and my host sisters were part of the festivities for the Nunta at the village Orthodox Church.
Once I arrived to their home that morning, the house was a flurry of activity between getting ready for the wedding ceremony and preparing a huge masa (party) to celebrate hram in the village. Hram is a big celebration in each village and city in Moldova as they celebrate when that particular village or city was established. Usually there is a festival in the center of town along with performances of singing and dancing and people invite their friends from other villages and cities to come and visit and eat together in their homes.
About mid-morning we made our way to the local Orthodox Church while the church service was finishing. I got to experience a little bit of what a service is like in an Orthodox Church – more on that another time. Once the church service was over, the wedding ceremony started soon after.
When the wedding party entered the best man came in carrying a large rug along with others carrying in other aspects of the ceremony — baskets of candy, food, wine, and flowers. In the Orthodox Church women must cover their heads, hence the reason you see women with head coverings in some of these photos.
I was fascinated and intrigued by so many aspects of the ceremony that are part of the traditions of the Orthodox church and witnessed many of them that day. I wish I could tell you what is really going on in each picture, but I am limited with my language and the amount of new information and experiences that I have taken in recently. So, this experience will be from my perspective as seeing it through my eyes and maybe sometime later during my service I will be able to share more as I understand better.
The next 2 photos is something that I had heard about upon arriving in Moldova, but I hadn’t seen it happen until now – and I was even able to document it that day. What happens when someone throws water in front of a newlywed couple in Moldova?
After photos at the park we then made our way back to the village where they were having a big masa (dinner/party) at the groom’s house. I ended up not making it to that and instead went home with my youngest host sister where my host parents had some friends over for hram (day of celebration for the village) and sat with them and their many friends for hours as we ate lots of delicious food and toasted many times to good health.
It was a long and full day of celebrations – I was exhausted by evening and was excused to my room after I unintentionally started falling asleep at the table. Oops! It was a great way to learn more about Moldova’s culture and my host family – and it was a perfect way to start off my next phase of Peace Corps phase of training for the next 2 weeks.