Of those who live in Moldovan villages, nearly every family keeps a garden. It is also true for homeowners in towns and cities. My host mother’s garden goes beyond sustenance, though: it is a place of gathering and quiet thought for those who pass through.
On Sunday November 5, 2017, the Comrat municipality hosted Gagauzia’s largest Wine Day to date. While last year was a square affair, this year’s festival stretched past the town’s center and onto the newly-paved Pobeda Street just south of the town’s old bazaar.
The festivities included samplings of wine produced in Gagauzia and other regions of Moldova, a craft fair, dancers celebrating outside of stalls constructed to look like traditional Gagauz homes, a concert, a few pig roasts and a “food court.”
He picked us up directly from the bus station driving a white Lada matchbox that he referred to as his “Russian Jeep.” He hesitated, first, in front of the автостанция entrance, then hummed up, presumably when he noticed the lime green hiker’s pack. He offered a serious smile when we got in the car, then stoicism. I joked about the little red-and-black flag above the air conditioning unit: “Batman?” No, he replied; the bat silhouette was the symbol of his army unit.
In a country renowned for its wine production, a place where nearly every household brags of its home brand (often bottled in recycled soda two-liters), and once-loved for its exports to Russia*, it is only natural that one of the most celebrated days of the year would be one where revelers could saturate themselves in the red-or-white nectar. Continue reading “Culture Express: Gagauz Wine Day”