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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gravediggers's party disturbs some

From Reuters:

The mourning parents of a traffic accident victim who visited their son’s grave near Antwerp were shocked to find the local gravediggers enjoying their annual barbecue at the graveyard. Workers at the cemetery in Merksem had music playing and their children were running around near the graves, De Morgen newspaper said Wednesday.
Several things struck me about this story. In the Victorian era, people frequently picnicked at cemeteries and took walks through them as though it was a park. A story about Highgate Cemetery goes that one family would picnic inside the family's crypt by candlelight and in formal dining dress. The people could be seen inside through a skylight in the roof of the crypt built into the slope of the hillside. My family and I often take walks in the very old cemetery behind the Presbyterian church in our village. Many generations of my wife's family is buried there, including her younger brother. It is true we do not play music or grill food. But we have been known to play hide and seek among the tombstones and I've been known to stretch out on the soft carpet of grass with my head propped up on a footstone to read a book. The world does not revolve around the dead. Graveyards are for the living, not the dead. Excessive association of death and grieving with cemeteries is, well, morbid in my opinion. Hat tip to protected static for emailing me the link to the Reuters story.


Blogger protected static said...

This is so true - New England is full of gently decaying burial grounds, some still in active use, others nearly forgotten. Near my grandmother's house stands one such graveyard (not quite forgotten, but not quite active either) in which I spent many a summer afternoon...

Also, one of my minor regrets is that I never took one a tour of any of Chicago's cemeteries while I was living in St. Louis... Absolutely beautiful places.

7/01/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Carnacki said...

Awesome links, protected static.

7/01/2005 09:32:00 AM  

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