What is a Cemetery?


Cemetery is a place where people remember their deceased family members. It is a semi-public space that often has rules about how to visit and what to bring.

For example, it is not allowed to have meals in cemeteries or leave litter on the grounds. Visiting a cemetery can be emotional and overwhelming for some.

1. A Place of Remembrance

Cemeteries serve as permanent places to remember the dead. In modern society, people have a number of options for burial, including interment (burial in the ground), entombment in a mausoleum, or inurnment (placement of cremated remains in an urn). There are also memorial societies that do not operate within the State-regulated funeral industry and can be used for either interment or to hold a ceremony without the body present.

In the past, important figures were often buried inside their church walls or in ossuaries within churchyards. Today, they are most commonly buried in cemetery plots. For those who want to remember the dead in a more public way, there are cenotaphs and other monuments that can be purchased. These serve as a place to remember the deceased and help others to learn from their legacy. In addition, the constant presence of graves reminds us of the inevitable nature of death and that a person’s life is short.

2. A Place of Serenity

The word cemetery carries with it the connotation of serenity and peace. It is a place where people go to remember the dead and to reflect upon their own mortality.

When choosing a cemetery it is important to consider all of the options and services available. Then you can make decisions that are meaningful to you and your family.

Choosing a cemetery is one of the most significant financial choices you will ever make. Be sure to ask about the pricing options and be aware of any hidden fees.

Cemeteries are independent burial grounds that differ from church graveyards. They often do not have to be affiliated with a particular church and are usually larger than a churchyard to accommodate more burial plots. They got their name from the Greek work koimeterion, meaning a “sleeping place.” Unlike a graveyard, which was usually a family affair, most people today are buried in a cemetery. In fact, providing a final resting place for loved ones is still considered to be a responsibility of families in many cultures.

3. A Place to Gather

In certain times of the year, when the veil between our world and that of the twilight world is particularly thin, spirit activity can be quite intense at a cemetery. This is why members of pagan communities often schedule their most auspicious gatherings at a cemetery at the winter, summer, and spring solstices or autumn equinoxes.

Take a close look at the markers. Are they fancy or plain, made from local or imported materials, crude or finely worked? How do their designs and materials reflect the social status of the people buried there?

Pay attention to how the people buried in a graveyard were related to one another. Look for families or groups buried together, military service, fraternal organizations (Odd Fellows, Masons, Elks), or other groups and associations. This can reveal much about the culture and history of the place. Remember that a cemetery is also a unique cultural landscape that deserves to be preserved.

4. A Place to Link Your Community

Cemeteries are an important part of the community, providing a place for families to gather, reminisce and communicate with loved ones who have passed. They also help to preserve the history of a local area.

Despite their often negative portrayal in horror movies, cemeteries can be places of community connection and fun. One example is Laurel Hill Cemetery, which hosts an annual Cinema in the Cemetery event where they show a popular bad horror movie on the grounds. It has become a popular way to reach a new audience and get people to come into the cemetery.

Across England, almost every local authority now has a cemetery, although many do not accept new burials. The policy picture for these spaces is fragmented and inconsistent, with little oversight or consistency. They make up around 4% of urban green space, but offer vital doorstep and neighbourhood access for many communities. We explore their (potential) ecosystem services in more detail, drawing on previous international research and a detailed case study of Bristol’s cemeteries.

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