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The Art Of Grave-Digging

A very unusual contest in grave-digging took place at a wooded cemetery in Debrecen which is the second largest city in Hungary. Dozens of Hungarian gravediggers have competed to prove themselves to be the best in their business. Contestants were judged not just by speed, but by the neatness and the style of the grave mounds as well. They should have strictly adhered to the regulation and should have kept the size of the grave that is 200 cm long, 80 cm wide and 160 cm deep (6 feet 6 inches, 2 feet 7 inches wide, and 5 feet 3 inches). Participants also received points for style – specifically the appearance of the grave mounds.


A local team was the first to finish digging. It took around 30 minutes to excavate the resting place. It took less speedy contest participants approximately one hour to complete their task.

All contestants had appropriate tools with them like shovels, rakes, axes and pickaxes – nevertheless no two teams appeared to use the same technique.


Afterwards the winning team was awarded a place in an international tournament against the following countries Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic which would take place later this year.

The Hungarian deputy chairman of Undertakers’ Association, Zoltan JuracsikI doesn’t consider it to be а morbid occupation. He is deeply persuaded that this is a very necessary profession, and the colleagues who toil in competition today are proud of their job and deserve respect. Organizers hope the competition will help society to respect gravediggers and will attract more people to the profession.

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