A cemetery is a place where people are buried. The word comes from the Greek work koimeterion, which means “sleeping place.”
The difference between a cemetery and a graveyard is that cemeteries are generally newer and more organized than graveyards. They are also often used by non-religious people. They are a popular spot for legends of devil worshipping, grave-robbing, thrilling sex encounters and so on.
1. It’s a Place of Peace
Many people find the peace of a cemetery to be comforting and restorative. This may be due to the fact that it is a place where the incessant noise and busyness of everyday life is absent. It is a place where we can reflect on our own mortality and the fact that we too will one day die.
This sense of peace is often enhanced by a beautiful landscape that includes flowers, trees and sometimes ponds. A cemetery may also feature a timber remembrance cross or a Jewish war gravestone with a Star of David.
The calming atmosphere of a cemetery can be further enhanced by the sense that the deceased loved ones are close by. This can provide a sense of closure, helping people to move on with their lives.
2. It’s a Place of Memory
A cemetery is land set aside for burial or entombment. Burial plots in a cemetery can be ground graves, above-ground tombs, mausoleums, columbariums or niches.
Cemeteries are a place of memory, often with many layers of meaning. They are places where the past, present and future meet and where diverse symbols are used.
Unlike church graveyards, which often require that stone be uncolored and unpolished and discourage elaborate memorials, cemetery memorials are typically more varied. In fact, some graveyards have their own museums that display art and memorabilia. They also keep records of the burials or entombments in the cemetery, such as names, dates and burial locations. Burial registers are important for genealogical purposes. They are also a great resource for learning more about local history.
3. It’s a Place of Reflection
Taking a walk through a cemetery is a healing experience. The space allows you to sit and remember your loved ones. Taking photos of graves is a great way to capture the beauty of the landscape and the memories that are associated with it.
While rubbing a tombstone is an excellent way to study the inscriptions, it can be damaging to the stone. A better option is to take a photograph of the tombstone, which can be done on overcast days for best results.
Cemeteries are important to the community as a place of reflection and healing. In addition, they can be important resources for art historians, revealing the popular artistic trends of the time. For example, in the 1800s, people preferred treestones that evoked the natural world.
4. It’s a Place of Community
The inscriptions on headstones tell us much about what life was like for individuals who lived in that time and place. They also offer a window into a community’s history, whether it be a city, town, or neighborhood. They are, in many ways, grassroots archives, though they often lack the rigorous archival standards of museums and libraries.
The word cemetery has a different meaning than the word graveyard. A graveyard is usually associated with a church and may contain older tombstones that are arranged in a less orderly way. In contrast, a cemetery is usually larger and offers modern family plots. Regardless of the type of cemetery, both serve as a place of healing for those who mourn and remember. They bring families together by creating a shared space that celebrates the lives of those who have passed on.
5. It’s a Place of Healing
Despite their macabre associations, cemeteries can provide comfort to grieving people. They can also help to refocus one’s perspective on life and death.
In many cultures, a cemetery is where family members are buried. Originally, this practice was a family obligation that stemmed from the belief that ties of kinship last beyond death. In the past, Chinese feng shui experts picked sites carefully to ensure auspicious wind and water; Koreans hired geomancers to divine favorable locations.
In general, the word “cemetery” evokes images of old churchyards with scattered tombstones. Today, modern cemetery landscapes are often expansive and beautiful, allowing families to build memorials with their loved ones in peace. The design of the cemetery landscape, along with rituals such as burial ceremonies and regular visits, can facilitate a healthy healing process.