Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Saint's Day

Yesterday was All Saint's Day, a public holiday in Hungary.  Dan and I visited Kerepesi Cemetery, one of the oldest cemeteries in Hungary.  Let me first say that the experience was nothing like the video I found and posted on Friday.  The main reason is that the video showed a different cemetery.  Kerepesi Cemetery is enormous.  We went around 5pm when it is already dark outside.  There was also a light fog through the city.  The darkness and the fog in the large cemetery made it difficult to see and navigate.  Honestly, the atmosphere was creepy but we weren't scared because the mood of the people was clearly honor and respect. The cemetery was filled with people.  We saw families and people of all ages visiting the graves and paying their respects.  I read online that the Kerepesi Cemetery does not take new burials. However, we're not sure if that is exactly true.  We went to several areas that appeared to be monuments.  In each section, there was an arc-shaped patio with several large stones listing people and their dates.  There were no signs explaining why the people were listed together.  All of the names had death dates since 2000 and we even saw the section from 2014. We stopped at a few graves which had enough candles to actually read the name. We saw the grave for Blaha Lujza.  We recognized the name because we often go to the metro stop "Blaha Lujza tér." This morning, I learned that Blaha Lujza was a famous female actress. She performed at the National Theater which used to be located at what is now Blaha Lujza tér.  Frigyes Hidas was music director at that same theater from 1951-1966. The building has since been destroyed. Dan and I were remembering Hidas during our walk yesterday. It would have been neat to visit his grave and pay our respects but his ashes were spread in Lake Balaton. Hopefully, we can visit the lake before we leave Hungary.

Another thing we noticed during our walk were the married names.  One of the old traditions for Hungarian women was to completely give up their name. It's just as if I chose to be known only as Mrs. Daniel Small.  For example, if the man's name was Kovács István, the wife would be Kovács Istvánné.  The "né" signifies the "Mrs." We saw these pairs of names in several parts of the cemetery.

The grave of Blaha Lujza.

One of the arcades of Kerepesi Cemetery.

A unique grave.

This is a close-up of one of the corners from the previous picture.

Some of the monuments with lists of names.

Another similar monument area.

People lighting candles and leaving flowers.

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