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LornaLove's avatar

What is grave visitation etiquette in your region or country?

Asked by LornaLove (9931points) July 1st, 2016

I haven’t lived in the UK for very long and I have been told that visiting the graves of ones beloved family now departed is very important on particular days.

Christmas as being one of the biggest days.

This day, I am told, the graveyard is full of family and flowers and forms part of the tradition of Christmas day for many, not all families.

I am surprised as where I come from Christmas day in general was not about visiting graves. Perhaps boxing day was I am not really sure.

What is your areas or countries general visitation expectations? Or better still which days are your own personal days for visitng families final resting spots?

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10 Answers

LBM's avatar

I didn’t know that, and I live in the UK. Must be a tradition for just certain families. I don’t know what grave visitation etiquette is here, I would just assume it was visit as much as you felt you needed to.
I don’t have a grave to visit, but if I did, it would depend on the person. I would definitely go on special occasions, to show respect and that they are not forgotten.

LornaLove's avatar

@LBM I tend to agree regards the go when you feel fit approach. It does seem a lot here do go on Christmas, which I find a bit odd. Probably because I’ve never heard of it before.

janbb's avatar

It was not the custom with the family I was part of when I was married to an Englishman.

Here in the States it is my understanding that people go when they want to. Soldiers’ graves seem to be visited often around Memorial and Veteran’s Days.

It is the custom in Judaism to place a stone on the tombstone to show that one has visited a grave.

LBM's avatar

Whereabouts in the UK do you live @LornaLove ?

Lightlyseared's avatar

I lived in the north of the U.K. as child and it was not uncommon to visit graves around Christmas although not always on Christmas Day. I suppose it could be to do with the fact Christmas is a time when families get together and people feel that includes loved ones no longer with us.

YARNLADY's avatar

Except for Military, there are no special days that I know of. Some people go once a week, and some once a year. Some, like me, never, unless I am asked to accompany someone else.

lillycoyote's avatar

I used to visit where my mother’s ashes were on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. I don’t know if it’s customary or not. I just went alone and one time I hung paper ornaments from the trees there. It was no big deal, it was just that Christmas is a family holiday and I was thinking of her that time of year and missed her more than usual.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Congratulation! You’ve just hit one of the tough spots in my culture. First, it’s compulsory that you visit your ancestors’s graves during New Year’s Eve, like you come to “invite” them to join New Year. In my family we have to visit ancestors of three generation (I don’t know about other families though, but I think they are similar). We have to visit all of them in one morning. Each visit goes like this: you give a person food, pray for them, wait for some time (maybe to get them to receive their food and greet us), then leave. Not to mention we also have to pay some respect for the people belonging to several other branches of the family tree (who happens to be grouped in the same spot) and the “neighbors” too, if possible. For some reason they were all buried in the same cementery, but they are all over the place, so walking around is a pain. It doesn’t help that the cementary isn’t like what you see in America. It’s huge, kind of messy and the ground is rough. And even before that visit the alpha males of the family have to go do some “clean up” for all the graves to prepare for the big visit.

And then there is also the death ceremony. Each year we have to have a ceremony on the day each ancestors die. Sometimes people have to go pay the ancestors a visit and clean up (I’m not sure about this though, sometimes we do it and sometimes we don’t). This time the whole family doesn’t necessarily have to go, just the alpha males. More praying and more cleaning. You can see my culture care a lot about dead people.

I don’t visit anyone alone though. The cementery is just too far away (in another town) and riding there is a bit too dangerous. Beside, everyone already has their altar right in my grandma’s home. When you have to do something for a long time and in an exact order without fail, you start to think of it as a chore. Not to mention I don’t know most of the people I visit. I prefer to visit voluntarily.

Brian1946's avatar

My graveyard etiquette is don’t knock over any headstones, no diurnal exhumations, and no loud music in the mausoleum.

LornaLove's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Thanks for a very interesting answer! I found a document with different religious or cultural beliefs about how one tends to graves after funerals and of course during. If anyone is interested.


an example: Hindu

A priest will purify the family’s home with spices and incense. A mourning period begins during which friends and relatives can visit the family and offer their sympathies. After the funeral mourners must wash and change their clothing before entering the house.One year later Shradh occurs. This is either a one-off event or may become an annual event.
Shradh is when food is given to the poor in memory of the deceased. Shradh lasts one month and a priest will say prayers for the deceased; during this time the family will not buy any new clothes or go to any parties.

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