Archives for the month of: November, 2011

The first day of school in Moldova starts with the first bell ceremony where all the students come to school outfitted especially for this special occasion. You may wonder if the students are required to wear uniforms since they all look so similar. No uniforms, just true Moldovan style. Black skirts and dresses with white blouses and white pom poms in the hair for girls and three piece suits for the boys.

The ceremony starts with the 12th graders ushering in the 1st graders and giving them school supplies. Then of course there is singing and dancing and the reciting of poetry. After that comes the speeches from the mayor, school director, and an honorable guest invited from the raion (county). And to close the ceremony, two 12th graders carrying two first graders (one boy and one girl) on their shoulders walk around the perimeter of the area a few times while they ring the first bell.

I think it is a great tradition, definitely a better way to start the school year off than what I was accustomed to in the states.


Weddings are a bit different in Moldova than in the states. First of all, Moldovan weddings are typically an all-night ordeal, starting anywhere from 7-11 pm and finishing at noon the next day. I have been to one traditional Moldovan wedding, and I lasted until 6am. I have been to two other Moldovan weddings which were not so traditional according to Moldovan culture but more traditional according to LDS culture. A and D were married in July and T and S were married in September, and I had the privilege of being their photographer. A and T’s mornings started like most brides… up early for hair and make-up. Then the spouse to be showed up at the door and tried to convince the bride’s friends to let him marry her. He would respond to their protective questions for 3-4 minutes until he had proven that he will love, honor, and cherish his wife to be. Then it was to the courthouse for the marriage and the church for the reception.

I think Americans would actually understand the word “nunta” to mean the wedding reception. It isn’t the marriage ceremony. A lot of Moldovas are married and have their receptions on different days. Some get married even months before and don’t have their nunta until much later for several reasons. Maybe they want to wait until somebody who is working abroad can come. Or maybe they are saving up for the wedding. A typical Moldovan wedding costs a lot more than one could afford according to their salaries, so guests are expected to pay up in the way of gift-giving.

Moldovan receptions are more of a program than in the states. There is usually an MC who leads the evening’s events. While there are many more activities involved, they do the throwing of the bouquet and the garder belt, the cutting of the cake along with feeding each other, and the first dances and the dances with the mothers. It’s a wedding reception with a lot of food and dancing. Thanks A and T for letting me be apart of your special day!

We harvested the grapes in L and E’s garden at the beginning of October. The grapes were smashed later that day and within just two days the juice turned sour. Curt and L transferred it to the cellar where it will continue to ferment but at a cooler temperature. It should be wine ready to drink by the new year.


Every village has its own fair or saint’s day. Bălăurești’s hram celebrates St. Nicolai (of summer… apparently there are two) and is on May 22. (Yes, I know this post is 6 months late!)I kind of feel like hram is an opportunity for boys and men in our village to participate in sporting events. There was a soccer game with a neighboring village, wrestling matches, volleyball games, tug of war, and races. Winners came home with chickens, rabbits, and rams.