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Harold's avatar

Why would a cemetery have an open day?

Asked by Harold (4117points) September 1st, 2010

The cemetery across the road from my work (which, by the way, is the biggest cemetery in the southern hemisphere) has a banner at the gate advertising a forthcoming open day. Am I strange to think of it as macabre? Are they offering tours of the crematorium perhaps?

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10 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

My only thought is…...it’s about the money. these are desperate economic times and a cemetery and funeral home is a business, just like everything else. some funeral homes send advertisements in the mail…...........others have open day.

serafina's avatar

Kind of creepy….i wouldn’t go near!

They are obviously touting for business.

iphigeneia's avatar

I thought cemeteries were usually open during the day… Maybe they’re encouraging people who wouldn’t usually go to cemeteries to check it out. It’s the biggest cemetery in the southern hemisphere, so there must be some exciting things there: famous dead people, nice gardens, cool statues? What are the normal visiting restrictions like?

ucme's avatar

Well you know, given the grave state of the economy. Maybe they fear stiff opposition from their competitors. :¬)

free_fallin's avatar

I was thinking the same as @iphigeneia. Many people photograph cemeteries. Maybe it was closed for renovations and they want to be sure everyone knows it is open again? That is another possibility.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I was thinking about it on the same lines as @john65pennington. If they have empty plots, they could be having an “open day” in regards to being open for business without an appointment. I know several people that already own their cemetery plots. My grandmother has already completely paid for her funeral. She went and picked out a casket, decided which type or ceremony she wants, which flowers she wants, and paid for all the costs involved with it.

iphigeneia's avatar

Well, I just looked up this cemetery. There’s a lot of information about the Open Day on their website. It doesn’t sound too macabre: from 10:30 – 3:00 there’ll be a jazz band. Plus other sorts of music, tours, talks, releasing doves, face painting, etc.

Money raised goes to restoration of the cemetery. Sounds like fun.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iphigeneia Sounds pretty interesting. I hope they are able to raise money for restoration. I’ve never seen a cemetery do something like that before.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, it is all about advance sales, which is fairly common, at least for those that like to plan ahead. If you were to ask the Fluther group (and it probably has been) about what they want to happen to their body after they die, almost everyone has a stance on what they want. An advance purchase, while they can afford it, gives them a peace of mind. My grandparents wanted to be assured that they would be buried next to each other in a particular cemetary, so they bought a double plot well before they were even ill.

While in college, I took a class on death and dying. One of the things that we learned was that, today, many people are distanced from watching others die. Our relatives don’t always live close by; sometimes they are put into a nursing or hospice home. Upon death, their body is whisked away by a medical service and then disappear into a funeral home who take it from there.

In the class, one of the books we read was about a modern couple who had children and lived in a rural area. When the wife/mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness, they discussed it with their children. Her wishes were to buried on their land. The family cut down some trees, built her coffin, and held their own service along with friends and relatives. It was legal, personal, and helped those who participated in it to realize that death comes to all of us at any given time.

If you have specific wishes, they really need to be planned in advance. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer, she not only had a will, but a list of personal wishes she made up for just us, such as a memorial service vs. a funeral and certain music played. All of us, including her three daughters, were well aware of what they were and planned to carry them out. What we didn’t know was about all the details involved in ensuring that they got carried out. While her body did go to research at her preferred medical school, despite being slightly under their conditions, and while the remains were cremated, we did not get the ashes back as assured by the parties involved. Her daughters were upset, but have learned to move on.

The point is, we need to not look upon death as something to be avoided or tucked away and out of view. It is the last chapter of our lifetime on Earth, and the people that plan ahead can make it easier for those of us that are left behind to mourn our loss.

Harold's avatar

Thanks for all your answers. It certainly has not been closed, though. Have a look on Google maps for Rookwood Cemetery (Sydney, Australia), and you’ll see how big it is. I guess being able to plan ahead for what you want when you die is the logical answer- I didn’t think of that!

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