Almost everyone will set foot in a cemetery at some point in their lives.
Many people feel uncomfortable there. Whether it's for the funeral of a family member, friend, or providing support for someone else, there are many occasions to be in a cemetery.
Etiquette Rules in the Cemetery
- Follow cemetery rules. Most have a sign near the entrance stating hours, rules about decorations, etc. Obey these rules. Rules about decorations serve to make sure the cemetery doesn't collect too much debris that the caretakers need to clean up. Flowers and other things can blow in the wind. It would be especially nice if any trash along the way was picked up, regardless of who left it.
- Most cemeteries are open from dusk until dawn. Try not to remain in the cemetery after dark.
- Don't litter. This creates extra work for the caretakers, and shows disrespect to the other families who come to mourn their loved ones. Make sure to either place trash and cigarette butts in trashcans, or bring out any refuse when exiting the cemetery
- Don't bring pets to a cemetery, or if it's necessary to bring them, make sure to keep them on a leash and clean up after them.
- Follow the roadways and don't drive on the grass. Drive slowly and obey any traffic signs posted in the cemetery. Be careful to avoid any people since they might be upset and not paying complete attention to where they are going.
- If there are children present, keep them nearby and don't let them play on any of the monuments. While it is good to get children used to paying respects at a cemetery, they often don't fully understand the meaning of everything in the cemetery.
- Be respectful. Keep the volume of voices down. Don't use bad language. Other people there may be upset and want a tranquil place in which to mourn. Don't be overly friendly and talk to strangers because they may want to be alone in peace.
- Don't touch any monuments or gravestones. They are very meaningful to the families who placed them there. Some older memorials might be in disrepair and might fall apart under the slightest touch.
- Don't take photos of other people or other funerals. This is a very private time for people. It's best to steer clear of any funerals occurring, and don't get in the way of funeral processions.
- Try to avoid talking on a cell phone loudly. There are few conversations that can't wait a few minutes. Cemeteries are wide open spaces and voices tend to carry.