People in Hungary are literally getting down and dirty for a new national competition – gravedigging.
Participants, formed in 18 two-man teams, competed in the first national event in Debrecen, held by the Hungarian Association of Cemetery Maintainers and Operators. Using shovels, rakes, axes and pickaxes, the teams dug regulation-size graves that were 2 feet, 7 inches wide, 6 feet, 6 inches long and 5 feet, 3 inches deep. Each team had their on technique and was judged on speed and style – how good the finished mounds looked. Some wore t-shirts and overalls, while others donned ties and vests.
“We didn’t have to prepare in any special way because we do this every day,” said 63-year-old Janos Jonas, who teamed with his son. “This is good earth, quite soft and humid, just right for the event.”
“These men see death every day,” said Kari. “Sometimes people joke about them while they work, but gravediggers are human, too. We are having difficulties finding replacements for our retiring employees. Young people today don’t like to dig and work.”
Winners Laszlo Toth and Janos Racz will compete against fellow gravediggers from Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in a regional race planned to be held in Trencin, Slovakia this November.