Hram is a celebration honoring a particular saint. Each village has it’s own Hram celebration. For example, Bălăurești honors Saint Nicolai in May. The best comparison in the states would be state and city fairs. Apparently schools honor saints as well. My knowledge of this came about while meeting with our Romanian tutor. After telling me about the activities to expect for Hram, he asked me if American schools celebrate Hram. I responded by explaining that in the US we do not have religion in public schools. And his response was kind of along the lines of… duh, we don’t either.

Sometimes I wonder what religion in schools would look like to Moldovans. From a foreigner’s perspective religion is most definitely tapped into public education here. Orthodox Christianity is an optional subject, with a substantial push to make it required. Most classrooms are home to a crucifix, or some other religions icon, hung  front and center. Spiritual health is taught by encouraging church attendance. And each year, the Priest  kicks off Hram by blessing the school through a sermon on school grounds. But considering Molodva is about 98% Christian Orthodox, I think it would be hard to completely free the school system of religion. Plus I think so much of a person’s religious practices become ingrained in her culture that she does not realize that what she considers her culture is considered her religion in the eyes of an outsider. And are the two ever really separable anyway?

The school’s Hram was on September 21st this year. The Priest came to officially open the celebrations, and then professors and leaders of the village were served food and wine while the students went home to eat and change into play clothes. There were several competitions held. The boys wrestled while the girls jumped rope. There were soccer games and volleyball games. The teachers played volleyball against the 11th grade and won, but then tragically lost to the seniors. And the day ended with a dance that went well into the night.