obituary posters in the public spaces of Bulgaria

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Obituary posters start from an exceptional act, the choice of the image to represent the person deceased. In Bulgaria, the deceased portrait is shown profusely. A divergent path is followed unlike the most of western society, which has relegated to minority spaces the relations between death, image and identity.

Here, the exposure methods of obituary portraits beat a merely informative nature. They disseminate the place, coexist in constant reflection with the image of the deceased. The speech is oriented in the viewpointopposite to denial. When released from exile, it is granted to the death a daily role.

Obituary posters, as part of Bulgarian Orthodox tradition, must be rigorously displayed in public spaces three days after the death of any resident. The same announcement will be reprinted and displayed at nine, forty days, six, nine months and, subsequently, each anniversary. Only from day forty should be incorporated a photograph of the deceased into the obituary poster, which traditionally must be in black and white. As long as that person is remembered, his death will be commemorated again with a new reprint. There are obituary posters that are replaced sixty years after the death of a person.

The structure of the poster must be composed of an orthodox cross in the upper central part, a frame around the full text, the news of the death, the three names of the deceased, the day of birth and death, a short text or poem in condolences, the name of the obituary author, information regarding the place and date of the funeral, and a photograph in the central part.

The places where the obituary poster have to be placed are, traditionally, the door of the deceased’s habitual residence, his church and the cemetery where he is buried. However, it is usual to find posters in places where the deceased spent part of his time, or places he walked for. That is, parks, workplaces, trees or walls of transit streets.