Among the most important moments marking man’s life, the ones connected with death have kept, in the traditional society, old pre-Christian beliefs and practices, completed by newer ones, imposed by the church. Death is perceived as a passage to the other world, and this passage was accompanied by a series of rituals, such as the firtree ritual.
In some villages in Hațeg country, the firtree ritual is still an important part of funeral customs, which accompany the burial of young people.
For example, in the village of Baru, if the deceased was a young person, an odd number of boys (between 7-11) would bring the most beautiful firtree from the forest, which was then cleared of savin and adorned, later placed on the grave, next to the cross, thus remembering that the deceased died prematurely (Ioachim Lazăr, Ion-Pilu Tămaș, Monography of Baru Mare village, Ed. Emia, Deva, 2003).
A constant element of this ritual practice is the “Firtree Song”, interpreted by women and girls.
The negative on glass with no. 14 captures four such firtrees (spear), placed next to the usual grave signs in the cemetery.
In the background, there is a stone church with a rectangular plan, covered with tin, a baroque bell tower, with a cross at the top. The building is surrounded by a wooden fence.
The cliché, registered with title “Cemetery”, was made by Romulus Vuia, in 1923, in Hățăgel village, Densuș area, Hunedoara county, Hațeg country.
It’s made on glass support, in the dry gelatin technique, with dimensions of 9 cm x 12 cm.
Photo: MET archive