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Graveyard Etiquette

Updated on March 14, 2011
Photo by Frank Brown
Photo by Frank Brown
Jonathan's Grave-site Photo by Juanita Lowrance
Jonathan's Grave-site Photo by Juanita Lowrance

It behooves me that I should have to write a hub such as this.

Some people just don't know how to walk through a cemetery or the proper etiquette. I have had friends break the unwritten rules and some of it has frustrated me.

I regularly visit my Grandson's grave {Picture at right} and just the other day I saw someone "breaking the rules".

This hub will be short and to the point. Please explain to your friends and family, because it hurts some of us when some of these etiquette rules are broken.

I have found there are only 3 simple things you can do that are considered "good etiquette" at graveyards.


This is my biggest pet peeve.


Please understand that people are buried under their names on the gravestones. Please walk on the opposite side of the gravestones about 2 inches away as you are walking to the person's grave you are visiting.

I think that if I see another person walking on graves, they will get a frog-lashing. It irks me bad.

I also try to pick up peoples flowers and such that have blown away and put them back if I can tell whose grave-site they are from. As you can see from the pictures, Jonathan is buried in a very well maintained cemetery. I like to always see it like this, after all I spend quite a bit of time there praying and listening to God.

Library Voice

The title of this one is really self-explanatory. Please keep your talk to low levels!

Hats Off

I find it reasonable to where your head covering (men) on your walk to the grave-site, but as you stand please remove your hat.

It is just a sign of respect and treating others how you would want to be treated.

Another bit that goes with this section is please where respectable clothing. Please.

In Closing

I don't say all of this to be a jerk. I am asking because these things get to me and I am sure they get on other people's nerves.

Many people just haven't dealt with much death or are just ignorant to graveyard etiquette.

Please share this so people do understand. Visiting a cemetery should not be a time of stress, but of peace.

Thank you for listening!

© G.L. Boudonck


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    • profile image

      Karen 6 years ago

      My husband's family lives in a house built on centuries' old cemetery, many churches in Europe and Great Britain are built over graves. In many U.S. cemeteries, you can't really tell where the "grave" is, only where the headstone lies. In some of these cemeteries, you can't get to one grave without stepping on another. While I think it appropriate that you show reverence to someone's last resting spot, especially a headstone, I do not agree that walking on a grave is a sign of disrespect. I think it helpful to air this opinion so you understand that some of us are neither ignorant nor rude, merely in disagreement.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 6 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      I don't tell people how to dress,but removing your hat is a sign of respect

    • profile image

      Wellthen 6 years ago

      Well, I agree with alot of it, but I do not think you should dictate how someone dresses- everyone has their own reasons for how they dress, and just because it is not in your taste, sometimes it's how they express themselves, especially for their deceased loved ones.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 6 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      I am sure both your Aunt and God forgive you. To have it happen because of being upset is a whole lot different than doing it thru being ignorant.

      You are forgiven

    • profile image

      MJ JOFFE 6 years ago


    • lisadpreston profile image

      lisadpreston 7 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      My heart is broken knowing that your grandson has passed. I have 5 grandchildren and honest to goodness how on earth are you coping? This has got to be the hardest thing on earth for a human being to face. It is my worst fear and I pray to God with everything in me that He takes me before any of my children or grandchildren. My heart aches for you and there are no words to make you feel better but I am thinking of you and your family and praying to God that you find peace and comfort.

      These rules are good. I am usually the only one at the cemetery when I visit my mom. Which is sometimes daily, even after 20 years. I bring the kids and grandkids often and we just hang out or eat lunch or dinner with her. I would never walk on a grave and I try to teach the little grandkids not to do that. When they get too rowdy we leave out of respect for the others. I know mom wouldn't care if they were acting up but the other dead people might so we just take them home. Thank you for bringing this topic up. I never would have thought of graveyard etiquette as a topic but it's a good one.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 7 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thank you all for your condolences.

      I appreciate each and every one of your comments and I feel as if I am seeing a different side of mankind.

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Cindy 7 years ago

      I lost my oldest son Brooks, 20 yrs old, in a single automobile accident on 2/01/210. As far as graveyard etiquette goes in my eyes is yes please do not walk on anyones gravesite, but PLEASE, as far as the family and friends go if at all possible please leave a note when you leave flowers or a rememberance so family can rejoice in the fact that you have left something. Anytime I visit my grandparents or anyother family members grave I leave a note attached with my name. It lets parents or family memebers know you have been there and gives them comfort that you care. My prayers go out to you and your family for the loss of your grandson Jonathan.

      Sincerely, Cindy

    • the pink umbrella profile image

      the pink umbrella 7 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

      i am so sorry that you have had such a young loss. I couldnt imagin my little baby gone. I do feel that you are in your right to be upset with others for not being respectful. not to upset you, but a very dear friend of mine died a few years ago. i never plan to visit his gravem the car just kind of takes me there sometimes. i am usually not dresses apropriately, and if im wearing a hat that day i have to say i never think to take it off. Im also confused as to where is an appropriate place to step. i kneel on his grave, and feel closer to him there. Everyone expresses grief in their own way. Some laugh at funny memories, and some cry out loud. One thing is for sure, if your not at a cemetery because you chose to go, you shouldnt be there. Kids that dont behave shouldnt be there. cocky teenagers shouldnt be there. I think instead of cemetery etiquette, it should be the golden rule. again, there is no sadder thing in this whole world than the passing of a tiny life. you have my deepest sympathies. i am so sorry.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      Good lessons for anyone............ I have never found visiting the cemetery at all peaceful; it makes me cold inside, but worse is seeing the disrespect of another visitor. A cemetery is a place of remembrance, and it should be honored in just that way.

      Jonathon's resting place is a tribute; you feel free to "frog lash" anyone you like! I'll be standing right behind you!


    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I like the way you close it by saying "Visiting a cemetery should not be a time of stress, but of peace." With so many people with so many different ideas and thoughts about what's right, what's polite, what's not, I'd think political correctness would be devoid in a graveyard...

      All these rules are not peaceful at all, they are too much stress for me, thank you very much.

      Sort of reminds me of that "Far Side" by Gary Larson cartoon where the boss was telling his employees, "Effective immediately, all fear will be removed from the workplace or else you're all fired!" :)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      I am also no stranger to death, and have found it unconscionable when people disrespect the sanctity of graveyards and mausoleums. These are places of rest and remembrance, and it amazes me that common courtesy does not always 'kick in.'

      Thank you.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

      I am truly sorry for your loss. I believe it is a mark of disrespect and always feel uncomfortable when attending a graveside service and the graves are so close together it is nearly impossible not to step on one. Our society seems to have lost all respect and courtesy everywhere. It is a shame.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      I am so sorry for your loss and I must say this is a hub that had to be written.

    • profile image

      Marie Doyle 7 years ago

      I agree with you completely. These things are rarely taught anymore. My children have informed me that they are not even taught in driver's ed to stop for a funeral procession.

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      This is a good hub Froggy, but I'm in agreement with KCC on the voice issue. Along with celebrating, there's a time for frustration, tears and even anger. What you have to be courteous of is others, but I've found most people understand the emotions a cemetery brings out (depending on the circumstances of the loss - some emotions are stronger). Thank you for weighing in on a sensitive subject!

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 7 years ago from Central Texas obviously haven't seen my hub "Would You Sit on Your Own Tombstone?". Things are done a bit differently where I'm from. I too have a thing about people walking across graves. However, I've never heard anyone mention the "library voice". We meet at my son's grave twice a year (death date and birth date) to have a balloon launch. I'm quite sure collectively, we aren't that quiet, but we're usually the only ones there when we do it. I don't see it as being disrespectful. We are celebrating his life.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 7 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thank you Challah1202

    • Challah1202 profile image

      Challah1202 7 years ago from Chandler, TX

      I appreciate your comments. I, too, want to carry a sense of respect and reflection when I visit a cemetary. A visit often calls to mind emotional memories, and it is only decent to be respectful. Good job.