In addition to offering reasons to visit beyond paying respects to the deceased, cemeteries nowadays seem to be enjoying a “moment,” hosting events like comedy nights and death cafes. In a recent Washington Post article, taphophiles, sometimes known as cemetery tourists, are described. When on vacation, they may visit up to ten graves in a single day. Numerous events, including Dia de Los Muertos, are held at California’s Forest Lawn Cemetery and funeral homes in Baltimore, MD. In the vaults of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, performances are frequently held.
Cemeteries have long been thought of as possible leisure areas. The “rural cemetery trend” began in the 19th century when cemeteries were built on the outskirts of cities since churches and churchyards could no longer hold all the needed graves. These new cemeteries were styled after lovely gardens with rolling hills, lakes, and fountains. Cemeteries were very much communal areas then, as they are now, and it was customary for families to spend a day of leisure in the cemetery picnicking and “thinking about the past and the future, and keeping a little history alive for themselves.”
Nevertheless, entering a cemetery forces one to acknowledge that they are surrounded by the dead. This chance to build connections with people from the past makes cemeteries effective settings for introspection. Spending the afternoon in a cemetery can be therapeutic and enable us to establish and uphold bonds with the deceased. We can pay our loved ones buried or interred a visit, take care of their graves, have a conversation with them, and spend time with them.
Many families visit the graves of their deceased loved ones on an annual or even monthly basis to show respect and pay their respects or to decorate them for different holidays (“grave blankets,” a Scandinavian tradition originally meant to keep the deceased warm and protected through the winter, are usually laid around Christmas time).
Visit the spot where your loved one is buried or interred as a starting point if you need help memorialize them. At first, you could feel uncomfortable, but if you look around, you will likely find others acting similarly. If you are unsure how to remember a loved one, visiting the location where they are buried or interred may be an excellent first step. You might feel awkward at first, but if you look around, you will see others doing the same thing. As in the 19th century, it is not unusual to see families eating around a grave, spending an afternoon conversing, or remembering a loved one’s birthday.
Cemeteries are powerful locations to spend time because they act as doors to connections with people who have passed away. They provide a pleasant diversion from the chaos of our daily life and could also relieve emotional distress. Take a moment to pause and reflect about the space you share with so many people who have lived before when you next visit a cemetery. These serene places might draw you back time and time again, like funeral homes in Baltimore, MD, since they are so rich with lessons and tales.