Pamfil BILŢIU, Maria BILȚIU
Baia Mare, Maramureș
Our work is based on the material provided by the answers to Ion Muşlea's questionnaires on the funeral in Maramureş, which raises a special interest to the researcher due to the rich ritual and ceremonial acts, beliefs and superstitions that give complexity, individuality and also the status of regional variant to the funeral in this area.
After brief general considerations about the funeral, in which we emphasized its characteristic traits, especially the historical evolution of this custom, we proceeded to synthesize and systematize the information obtained in the localities Vadu Izei, Rona de Jos, Hărniceşti and Giuleşti, following the succession of the sequences in the funeral ceremony.
The first part of our paper was reserved for the signs of death, then we talked about the period before the agony, and finally about the agony of the dying person. The largest part of our work concerns the burial itself, as it is the basic sequence of the funeral ceremony and it has a very rich repertoire, made up of all kinds of ritual-magical acts related to different sequences of the custom, some of them complex - such as the wake ceremony.
We included information about the post-burial sequence, where the ritual funeral repasts are predominant. Our work ends with the beliefs and superstitions that once circulated intensely during the funeral, the emphasis being on the superstitions - reproduced separately by the investigator - about male or female ghosts; then the beliefs related to the soul, to the afterlife, to apparitions and to death.
In the context of using the material investigated by Ion Muşlea's correspondents, we have made some interpretations focusing on decoding the symbols of some magical instruments or vegetal elements used in the magical practices and ritual acts of the funeral in Maramures.
Our guidelines throughout the work was our concern to show the entire complexity, richness and variety of the funeral habits in this area.
Keywords: mourning, wake, funeral ceremony, death, beliefs, superstitions, ritual