6 Tips for Proper Cemetery Etiquette
Visiting a cemetery means you’re entering a place where people come to grieve and remember their loved ones who have passed. Because of this, it’s important to maintain proper etiquette when visiting any cemetery.
Here are 6 tips for maintaining proper cemetery etiquette, whether it’s your first time visiting one or you’ve been many times:
Understand the Rules
All cemeteries have slightly different rules, especially when it comes to leaving remembrances or the hours that visitors are permitted.
Many cemeteries have websites that list a lot of the crucial information you’ll need when visiting, but you also can call the listed cemetery office phone number and ask if there are any particular rules you need to keep in mind during your visit.
If you’re unsure where the grave you’re visiting is located, the website or central office can help you find the grave so you don’t spend a lot of time wandering around.
Just because the roads inside a cemetery don’t seem busy doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to speed to your destination.
Many cemeteries have one-way roads that lead around the grounds, and going the wrong way can really cause trouble.
Drive the posted speed limit and follow any signage, making sure to keep an eye out for people who may not be paying attention. Stay off the grass, even in areas where there isn’t a curb or you may have trouble passing.
Respect the Graves
It is widely considered disrespectful to touch headstones and monuments unless you are specifically there to visit that particular grave. In some cases, especially with older or more fragile stones, touching them can cause damage.
Walk carefully between stones, don’t use them as a place to rest and lean, and don’t stand on top of a burial place when you’re visiting.
Also, if you accidentally jostle any grave decorations, be sure to carefully replace them.
Respect Other Mourners
Even though cemeteries are outdoor spaces, they are meant to be places for quiet and contemplation.
Do your best to not talk loudly and, if you anticipate a phone call during your visit, turn your ringer down or put your phone on silent.
In the event that a funeral is taking place during your visit, slow down and allow members of the processional and burial to pass or cross the road. Give them space and avoid staring.
Clean up After Yourself
If you’ve brought an arrangement or other decoration that needed to be unwrapped, be sure to take your trash with you when you leave the grave.
Many cemeteries have trash cans scattered around, so you should be able to just throw your trash there before you leave.
However, in the event that you don’t see a trash can or the nearest can is full, take your trash to your car and dispose of it later.
Make Sure Your Party Understands the Rules
If you’re visiting with friends or family, especially children or others who have never visited a cemetery before, be sure to make them aware of the rules.
Keep a close eye on any members of your party who could become unruly, preventing them from running, shouting, or playing on the graves.
If you have someone in your party who cannot maintain their decorum while visiting the cemetery, it may be best to either have them wait in the car while you visit the grave, or delay your visit to a time when that person won’t need to be present.
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