Everyone knows a cemetery is a quiet, solemn place where you can be reflective or pensive. You can bring funeral flowers and stay for a few minutes or several hours to remember your loved ones who have passed on. This peaceful ground is a final resting place where you honor the memory of the dead. For this reason, this unique space holds unwritten rules that you must follow. If you want to be sure you’re not breaking any code of conduct, it would be helpful to abide by these cemetery etiquette tips.
When You Come for a Funeral Service
If you go to the cemetery to attend funeral services, then you must follow the directions of the organizers on where to sit or stand. If you take your car, make it a point to park in designated areas. Never park in a grassy area because the weight of your vehicle can kill the grass. In the same token, follow posted rules about where you can walk.
Some cemeteries provide specific instructions about decors. Loose flower petals are often discouraged as they can blow away with the wind and end up littering the area. Observe cleanliness and throw things in designated trash bins only.
While the service is in progress, be mindful of your behavior. If you need to speak with someone, do it in a very hushed tone so as not to disturb the proceedings. Don’t forget to put your mobile phones, tablets, or other noisy gadgets on silent mode. Avoid taking photos to show respect to other people, especially the family of the deceased.
When You Visit to Remember a Loved One
Some of the rules above also apply if you are visiting to remember the memory of a loved one. For best results, check the visiting hours of the cemetery. Typically, that’s from dawn to dusk, unless there are holiday operating hours. Usually, you can check the time on the official website to ensure you can be accommodated.
In general, you may find yourself making a trip during birthdays, anniversaries, or other important milestones. The top priority is staying respectful and very quiet. Remember, others may be there to visit their loved ones, too, or there could be another funeral that’s in progress. You wouldn’t want to disrupt their services with loud noises and unruly behavior.
Don’t throw your trash anywhere. Ask if you’re allowed to bring a pet and if yes, keep them leashed. Should you bring your children, you must keep an eye on them. Make it a point to ensure that none of the plants or flowers are crushed. Stay respectful of the other graves nearby.
If you feel that the grave marker looks dirty, you are more than welcome to do some light dusting. You can also pull out weeds near your loved one’s graves if you wish. Just be sure to dispose of them properly.
When You Come to Relish the History
You will often find a treasure trove of history in cemeteries. Whether you’re there to pay respects to the memory of your favorite celebrity, you’re visiting to find out your family genealogy, or you’re there for historic epitaphs, you must obey the cemetery rules. Never park on the grass and observe markings for walking in designated areas.
Don’t disturb the monuments and other memorial trinkets left by the other visitors. If you find that the monument is worn out, do not tamper with it. You don’t want to damage the old, and fragile piece. You can try to do the following if you want to read the inscription:
- Utilize a flashlight, mirror, or your phones reflective surface to shine the light diagonally on the gravestone’s surface. The light will cast shadows on the indented parts. As a result, you can read the worn-out carvings and old inscriptions with better clarity.
- You can try taking a digital photo. Play around with it using your editing software to enhance the colors. With the right filters, you can bring out the lettering and make them more noticeable for easy reading.
- Never add things like flour or powder to bring out the lettering in an old gravestone. This can damage the materials, result in discoloration, and speed up deterioration.
If you are visiting a cemetery and notice that any gravestone has been vandalized, it would be prudent to alert the office right away. With your notification, they can take out the graffiti or fix the problem immediately. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove any paint and the more difficult it would be to fix the damage as they can escalate.
When you visit any cemetery, you must uphold the proper behavior. Through this, you are showing your respect to all the ones who are laid to rest in the area. At the same time, you help the cemetery crew maintain a clean and orderly resting place for the other guests to enjoy.