Marianna who lived in Buda Ward, was the housekeeper for the Mission Home and was the mother of two of our YSA women. She had battled cancer three times in her brief life. This last time, she waited for several months before they got around to seeing her and diagnosing her. Since, I suppose this is a political issue, I will say no more…
We attended her funeral which, we assume, was a typical Hungarian funeral, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Once a person dies, the cemetery takes the body. There is no funeral homes, like we have in America. Also in our religion, the family or the Relief Society President (woman) or the High Priest Group Leader (man) are accustomed to dressing the body or a family member can do this also. In Hungary, the Relief Society President had to direct this dressing through a small window from another room. If the body had to be moved in anyway, the window would be closed until the body was moved.
We, the Smiths, and the Bagozzis drove to the cemetery in Old Buda. Across from the cemetery was a flower store. Every cemetery that we have seen have many flower stores all around the cemetery. This one was no different. We each bought a single flower for her.
The entrance was under the green awning at the far right. The family and some friends sat in a little room with the casket – the rest of us were standing in the foyer or entry way. The casket was at the far end of the room. People brought in flowers – single and/or arrangements – and laid them in the center of the room in front of the casket. Some had a single flower that they kept in their hands. At the junction of the room and the entry there was a microphone. At the appropriate time, the Bishop conducted the meeting from the microphone. Someone had previously passed out copies of the songbook pages. The non-LDS people really did not know to take them. We sang an opening LDS song in Magyar. Someone said the opening prayer. The Bishop called on a person, we assumed was a friend or relative, to speak. Another song. Then he spoke. Then closing song and prayer. For us, a typical Mormon funeral.
Then everyone filed out and watched the attendants put the flowers all over this little hearse-like electric car. When that was done, they put the casket into the hearse and it drove slowly to the plot where Marianna was to be buried. We all walked down the path behind the hearse. Here is the hearse covered with some of the flowers… and the cemetery attendants in their gray-green uniforms.
Previous to the funeral, the plot had been prepared by digging a hole and placing the dirt all around the hole onto plastic. There was a platform that held the casket until the grave side ceremonies were completed. Someone was called on to bless the grave site. Then the attendants removed the platform and lowered the casket into the ground. At this point, many people tossed their single flowers onto the casket. Then we all stood around and watched the attendants fill in the hole until all the dirt was used up and the plastic removed. There was a big mound of dirt at the grave. The the attendants placed the flowers all over and around the grave site.
The marker was a simple wooden post with a name on top. I think that the family can not afford a stone and elaborate grave, as some others have in this cemetery. Or maybe a top of concrete will be put on later?
The cemetery was on a corner. There were two other flower shops across the other street and probably more at other entrances.
Elder Felsted and I liked that everything was done at the cemetery. There was no long procession of cars that drove all the way to the cemetery from Church or from the funeral home. We liked that we actually saw the complete burial. Different but nice tradition.
Marianna was a very sweet woman. She had attended the temple in 2013 and received her endowments. She took her daughter Anna, who was able to do baptisms for their dead ancestors. Anna has a form of Williams Syndrome and is not able to take care of herself. The other daughter, Eszter, is an elementary school teacher. Her son is a cook and she was very proud of him, too. Her family and her church family will miss her very much.