Cemetery Etiquette

12 Basic Rules: How to Behave at a Cemetery


Tips and Hacks when Visiting a Grave in Carlisle, PA 


A cemetery is a special and unique place. Although you can see it every day, it's not entirely part of everyday life. When visiting a cemetery, there are a number of basic rules you should keep in mind in order to show respect to both the living and the dead. These tips will help to keep you out of trouble and make sure you and your fellow visitors enjoy a courteous and peaceful experience.



1. Make sure you read the rules at the entrance. 


Most cemeteries have a sign posted near the entrance listing rules specific to the property. Follow the rules and observe any floral regulations they might have set. The rules about decorations are in place to ensure that the cemetery does not accumulate too much trash that the caretakers will have to clean up. Wind can blow flowers and other objects, it would be especially lovely if any rubbish left along the path, regardless of who left it, was picked up.


2. Respect the hours.


Most cemeteries are open from dawn until dusk. Try not to remain in the cemetery after dark to avoid being charged with trespassing. Furthermore, it goes without saying that do not enter a cemetery during the hours it is closed. It can be disrespectful to do so and also dangerous for you, your fellow visitors, or the cemetery's staff members.


Is it disrespectful to go to a cemetery at night? It's not about being disrespectful as during the hours of the night, cemeteries are usually closed to the public. This isn't to protect people from the supernatural, but rather to keep vandals out of the cemetery.


3. Drive with care!


When driving a vehicle inside the cemetery, make sure to follow the roadways and remain off the grass. Drive slowly, and watch out for people who might not be paying attention. If the lane is narrow and another car approaches, offer to move your car until the other driver can get through as this is the proper cemetery etiquette. Be calm and courteous, the last thing you want is a car accident that could endanger you and your passengers.


4. Respect the graves.


Don't touch any monuments or headstones; this is not only disrespectful but may cause damage to the memorials, especially older ones. Never remove anything from a gravestone, such as flowers, coins, or tributes that have been left by family. People often leave tributes to remember their loved ones, and the cemetery staff has been instructed not to remove anything.


Is it disrespectful to walk on graves? Yes, it is disrespectful. Always walk between the headstones and avoid standing on top of a gravesite. Be considerate of other mourners. If a funeral is taking place, stay out of the way of the procession and burial.



5. Look after your children.


While it is beneficial to get children to pay respects in cemeteries, they frequently do not comprehend the significance of everything in the cemetery.


When it comes to children, having them properly supervised by their parents will help prevent any incidents from occurring such as running wild throughout the cemetery or disturbing gravesites/others with loud noises.


Having your child educated about different cemetery etiquettes and rules before visiting one can prove beneficial so they know how best to act during their trip.


6. Speak softly and politely.


Be respectful to other mourners: remember to keep your voice down when having conversations, and avoid using bad language. You also don't want to be overly friendly with strangers as most visitors may want to be alone.


7. Lower the volume.


If you choose to bring it with you, take a moment to ensure that your cellphone is turned off or set to vibrate. Avoid having phone conversations, as voices tend to carry in open spaces. Make sure to turn off your car stereo too while driving or parking in the cemetery. Remember, a cemetery is a solemn and tranquil place, making loud noises will not only be disrespectful but also discourteous.


8. Be respectful of services and other mourners. 


If a funeral service is occurring, take care not to get in the way of processions. Never take photos of strangers at a funeral or visiting a gravesite; it is extremely disrespectful to them in their time of grief. Respect their privacy and give them their space.


Is it disrespectful to take pictures of graves? No really, some individuals want to employ photographers to take pictures at graveside during service. You can also take pictures but avoid utilizing flash because it might lead mourners and even the funeral officiant to become distracted.


9. Don't leave trash behind.


Litter creates extra work for the caretakers and is disrespectful to both other visitors and those who are buried there. Use designated receptacles, if they are provided, or hang onto your trash and take it with you when you leave. It is highly recommended to clean up after yourself.


If you have fresh-cut flowers, it is nice to take them home with you or donate them to a nursing facility. Otherwise, they can be left in the cemetery receptacle for removal by cemetery staff or volunteers. If there are trash cans provided next to the flower vases at the graveside, feel free to use those.


Also, keep in mind that many cemeteries place water hoses near trash cans so caretakers can clean up after people who mistakenly discard their arrangements instead of putting them where they belong.


Pet at the Cemetery

10. Leash your pets.

Some cemeteries allow pets on their grounds. Before you bring your pet along, check to make sure it's not against the rules, and keep them on a leash at all times. Remember to clean up after your pets.


Is it disrespectful to walk your dog in a cemetery? Pets should not be brought onto the grounds of some cemeteries, and this request should be respected. If you are able to bring your pet in for a walk, please respect the graves and markers. The majority of people would be upset if an animal roamed on their loved one's grave.


11. Keep your visit brief and respectful.


Most people are not at the cemetery to socialize, they want a few moments of solitude with their loved one's grave. Let other visitors have those same minutes alone- don't linger after you place flowers or pay your respects in any way. If you need more time, come back on another day when it is less crowded.


12. Share these cemetery etiquette tips.


If you're visiting the cemetery with friends or family, make a point of explaining cemetery etiquette and rules. Some people may be visiting a cemetery for the first time, so sharing your knowledge can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Overall, when you follow these tips, this will make your cemetery visit much more fulfilling and enjoyable. 



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Cemetery in PA


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