Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Black Sea resort bans funeral processions

france24.com


The mayor of Mangalia, a small town on Romania's Black Sea coast, has decided to ban traditional funeral processions during the holiday season stretching from early May to mid September.

According to Orthodox tradition - shared by 87% of Romanians - the body of the deceased is to be carried around town by his family and relatives before burial. The procession marks several stops at road crossings, as well as a passage through church, before heading for the cemetery.

"The movement of funeral processions across town affects the comfort of tourists while also generating an atmosphere of sadness and unhappiness," explains the mayor of Mangalia, Mihai Tusac. "Furthermore, these processions put peoples' lives at risk, as the heavy summer traffic grapples with the town's congested streets."

Mangalia's town hall wants the local population to quietly carry the deceased to the cemetery, without the traditional twists and turns. Yet, in a country determined to preserve its distinct culture after joining the European Union, not everyone aggress with Tusac and his colleagues.

Still, the financial stakes tied to the development of tourism along the Black Sea may yet produce a change of heart. "In modern society, death is no longer an event shared among the community but an aspect of private life," says local law. "The aim of this measure is to encourage the development of tourism in accordance with EU rulings."

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