Saturday was the annual Wine Day, celebrating Moldova's chief export and national past time. All the Moldovan wine companies built neat pavilions in the central square for the public to sample their wine. Professional wine testers came to judge this year's vintage quality, and the President awarded some companies various awards based on quality and presentation.
I was quite impressed with the pageantry and the quality of the environment downtown. Traditional singers and dancers were on stage performing. In the park, there were dozens of mini restaurants set up selling kebab ("shashlik") and kiosks selling tons of pastries. There were also a lot of vendors selling all kinds of arts and crafts. I met up with some American friends and we enjoyed the fresh kebab and pastries. I learned I can eat way more kebab than 3 American girls combined (that may not actually be a good thing for me).
The setup was the same on Sunday for City Day, celebrating the establishment of Chisinau, but the crowds and atmosphere were much larger as the city shuts down to celebrate. Joni came with me after house church on Sunday and we did some souvenir shopping (as well as more kebab eating!). The weather got down to ZERO degrees Celsius and was very wet, so we didn't last long. These are some pictures I took on Saturday, as well as some I found on the official Moldovan Photography website.
Young and old alike engage in spontaneous traditional dancing here, gotta love it.
Notice brides and grooms are all dancing with wine glasses in their hands being amazingly careful not to spill them on their dresses."Wait a minute, that's not Moldova!" you're probably saying. You're right, it's the celebration of Kentucky beating #1 LSU 43-37 in 3OT on Saturday night. This was also a big part of my holiday weekend, as I stayed up listening to it until 3 am at which time my hollering woke up Joni and she also enjoyed the jubilation.
We topped Sunday night off by watching the latest episodes of The Office, playing a round of Phase 10, and eating delicious pizza with some missionary friends here. A very fun holiday weekend, indeed!