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A Few Words About Cemetery Etiquette*

Most people know that when you visit a cemetery for a burial, there are rituals and guidelines for your behavior. Etiquette rules also  apply when you go to visit a suffragist gravesite:

  • BE RESPECTFUL. Even in the older parts of a cemetery, you are still in a place of mourning. Do not bring loud music or raise your voice above a speaking level. Always give way to families who are there to visit loved ones. Do not take any items from the graves or headstones (even coins that might be placed there), and always pack any garbage out with you.

  • FOLLOW THE RULES. Most cemeteries are run privately, and, as such, have their own rules and guidelines. These are usually posted (along with the cemetery hours) near the entrance, so you be sure to familiarize yourself with them before you walk in.

  • AVOID AREAS WITH ACTIVE FUNERALS. Most likely, the family wants privacy at this time, so wait for the appropriate time to pay your respects.

  • LEASH YOUR DOG. Make sure you clean up any messes they leave behind.

  • KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR CHILDREN. Don't let them climb on gravestones, run over the grass where people are buried, and play loud, noisy games.

  • AVOID TOUCHING GRAVESTONES. This includes sitting on them, leaning against them, or even doing gravestone rubbings. It has long been proven that gravestone rubbings wear down the integrity of the stone—especially in older graves—which is why most cemeteries forbid it now.

  • RESPECT PROPERTY BOUNDARIES. Most cemeteries have fences or forest lands to mark the property boundaries. Do not stray beyond these boundaries because you may be trespassing on private property.

*Adapted from www.imortuary.com 

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This program was funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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