A trip to my paternal ancestral village would not have been complete without a visit to the cemetery.
I was able to see where my great-grandparents, Jan and Borbala, are buried, as well as other Alzo family members.
The photo below is of the gravestone for Andrej Alzo, my grandfather’s youngest brother whom he never met. My grandfather left for America before Andrej was born.
I never knew any of these folks, but I sure felt their presence that day. It was like all of my Alzo ancestors had been converging in the life beyond, leading me back to Kučín and to my living Alzo cousins there. When we were leaving, Renata told me about a ritual of washing one’s hands upon exiting a cemetery. This is to wash away any evil spirits that may have been present. There is typically a water spigot at the entrance of a cemetery for visitors to use.
I had never heard of this practice before Renata explained it. (She is shown in the photo above washing her hands).
Renata also said that you are supposed to turn your shoes upside down and leave them at the door of your home after you have visited a cemetery–in case the evil spirits left with you. I love the Slovak customs and traditions and thought this one was so interesting.
to be continued…
Photos by Lisa A. Alzo, June 7, 2010
Copyright 2010 Lisa A. Alzo
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