ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Old and New World Cemeteries

Updated on November 1, 2012
Typical American cemetery
Typical American cemetery | Source

If anyone has visited cemeteries in Europe and in North America, they will have noticed that there is a fundamental difference between the two. In Europe the vast majority of graves are upright headstones with either a mound over where the deceased are, or with that area being covered as well by stone. In North America - especially in cemeteries of the last 75 years or so - most headstones are simply placed flat on the ground, with the area over the deceased being flat and grassy. In fact, I could never get over the fact that from a distance most American cemeteries look just like golf courses. There are hardly ever any flowers or candles places on American graves. In Europe, even most free-standing urn burial places have mini headstones that are easy to find.

I wonder why this is? Only old American cemeteries have more upright headstones and obviously resemble British cemeteries. However, the newer ones mentioned above just seem like a landscaped repository. They are often not even called what they actually are, but are given the name of "memorial park." In fact, they do look like parks. Oftentimes you don't even know if you are standing right over the dead or not, especially when the headstones begin to sink into the soil. I have the suspicion that this type of flat headstone came into practice so that cutting the lawn and landscaping would be easier for the graveyard owners. It's mush easier to just trundle over these with a tractor mower than cutting around individual free-standing headstones. It seems a very cynical way of economizing death. Maybe it has to do with the culture in America that everything is disposable. Put people in a spot after they are gone where they will not cause much trouble seems to be the guiding factor. Europeans visit graves much more than Americans or Canadians do.

On November 1st (All Saint's Day) and November 2nd (All Soul's Day) most Europeans visit the graves of their loved ones and relatives to clean the headstones, lay flowers and wreaths, and light candles. This does not happen in North America. There is really an indescribable feeling when you first see a European cemetery with tens of thousands of candles at dusk on the two days mentioned above. It looks like a city from afar. In contrast American cemeteries stay dark and unadorned and mostly unvisited. In fact, the only time people usually visit American cemeteries is during funerals, and then seem to forget about them.

Sure, there are Europeans who only visit cemeteries in the beginning of November and at Christmas and birthdays, but at east there is a day when people take at least some time to remember those who have passed. And it is not only relatives' graves that are visited and adorned, but those of famous writers, politicians, sportsmen etc.

In Denmark it is tradition to have picnics at the graves of loved ones, which actually give graveyards a festive atmosphere, and not one of depression and sadness.

Many in America would call what Europeans do sad and morbid. But what is really sad here? The fact that Europeans remember and respect their dead, or that North Americans oftentimes just seem to bury them and forget about them?

Typical European cemetery
Typical European cemetery | Source

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)