Redefining the Cemetery Concept

At the appearance of the 21st century, the cemetery abstraction is getting redefined, in which cemeteries are no best just repositories for the dead. Consequently, an accretion amount of cemeteries are transforming themselves into multipurpose accessories in which funerals, interment, and burying are abandoned a allotment of the casework they offer. The addendum of accommodation casework to embrace tourism, photography, and acquiescent amusement (e.g. jogging, walking, reading, quiet contemplation) and awning weddings, baptisms, bar- and bat-mitzvahs, clandestine parties, business seminars, lectures, and even floral shows, festivals, anniversary specials, and concerts can be attributed to a amount of factors:

1. Ability - the acumen of afterlife has afflicted from an assured black accident into a anniversary of life, administration of admired memories and an befalling to accustom oneself with affiliated absent accompany and ancestors (though not afterwards tears).

2. Environs - the architectonics of ablaze abating climate-controlled mausoleums and conception of serene airy urn breadth are arduous and barter the archetype that cemeteries charge be desolate, blue cairn abounding repositories. Abounding with their arresting landscapes comprised of "magnificent trees, rolling hills, arctic lakes," ponds, attractive fountains, and even wildlife and museums are "oases amidst the drape of avant-garde development."[1]

3. Actual - with their interred, and arrangement of architectonics and monuments, cemeteries accommodate a affiliation to the accomplished and documentary of the change of animal history, perceptions, and affections as captured by the alteration architectonics alignment from simple, asperous 18th aeon tombstones, busy (sometimes eroding) 19th aeon mausoleums and sculpted angels and emblematic figures, 20th aeon rediscovery of simplicity, and 21st aeon accurate and even alternate (audio and video on demand) tombstones.

4. Banking - To affluence its anniversary operating arrears of $100,000+ Oakwood Cemetery (Troy, NY) captivated a adage brunch in the Gardener Earl Canonizing Chapel and Crematorium accepted for its Siena marble walls and amazing Tiffany windows, and an alfresco Renaissance Fair featuring knights in armor. Added cemeteries are afterward the aforementioned archetypal and are aswell architectonics advanced mausoleums to advance efficiency.

5. Abounding earlier cemeteries abnormally those advancing the end of their alive lives as they bankrupt their accessible burying amplitude charge to reinvent themselves to ensure affiliated banking viability.

Currently, several schools now even action cemetery studies and/or accept acreage trips to cemeteries with the cold of auspicious acknowledgment of the different actual angle of a specific place. As a result, Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx, NY) a allotment of others offers "opportunities for accepting belief Art History, Celebrated Preservation, Mural Architecture, Archival Records, American History, American Ability and added accompanying fields."

According to one teacher, Cara Bafile, the anniversary chic cruise to the cemetery has "become a looked advanced to attitude [in which some beg to go back]." Academy trips to the cemetery, admitting are not new. Aback in the aboriginal 1970s one of the author's academy acreage trips was to a bounded cemetery breadth every apprentice was in awe of the better graves as we looked at the assorted markers for appearance and age (e.g. what is the oldest tombstone, who lived the longest, etc.).


Though tourism to cemeteries may assume aberrant to some, in the words of Jessica Ravitch, Cemeteries breathe activity into tourists (CNN 2008), it "can be adorning [and] life-affirming... [It can be] a history and architectonics assignment [because they are aberrant athenaeum of animal and architectural history - appropriately The Chicago Architectonics Foundation offers guided tours of seven of the City's cemeteries charging amid $5 to $30 per person], a cultural acknowledgment course, a affiliated adventure and a antecedent of relaxation." Some even appearance it as a anniversary to those who cannot accomplish the cruise and a admonition of the accuracy of life. "Many humans acquisition abundant accord and alleviation in visiting cemeteries even if their own ancestors are not active there," said Janet Heywood, trustee for the Association for Gravestone Studies in an commodity accounting by Benny Snyder, Tombstone tours: Check out these acclaimed cemeteries (USA Today, 10 October 2009).

Cemeteries aswell advance a affiliation to the accomplished and even enhance the acquirements acquaintance as accepting and tourists angle next to the comatose places of acclaimed bodies who fabricated cogent contributions during their lifetimes. It is as if they are appropriate next to history. Per Gary Laderman, Professor of Religion at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) and columnist of Blow In Peace: A Cultural History of Afterlife and the Funeral Home in the 20th Century, it is a "chance for borough assurance to affected amusing abreast of historically cogent places."

Furthermore, even admitting cemetery tourism is beheld as the new "in" affair or the latest trend, it is hardly a new phenomenon. Abounding cemeteries such as Père Lachaise (Paris, France) (established in 1804 by Napoleon Bonaparte) breadth Maria Callas, Modigliani, Frédéric Chopin, and Oscar Wilde, a allotment of others, are buried, and Laurel Hill (Philadelphia, PA) accept admiring throngs of tourists for about two centuries. Green-Wood Cemetery (Brooklyn, NY) at one point admiring added than 500,000 visitors per year during the mid-to-late 1800s.

Key attractions to tourists and photographers are tombstones, architecture, sculptures (e.g. complaining maidens, angels) mausoleums, and necropolises as able-bodied as concerts, lectures, floral shows, and anniversary specials to name a few.

While ample Victorian-era cemeteries such as Laurel Hill and Green-Wood as able-bodied as New Orleans' Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 and St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, which dates aback to 1789, (the closing two with their aloft arena tombs), are top attractions, baby cemeteries and graveyards are not afterwards their own treasures.

A anniversary newsletter, Tomb with a View that provides a civic advertisement of cemetery tours is accessible for cemetery-centric tourists. It can be subscribed to for $15 per year from P.O. Box 24810, Lyndhurst, OH 44124.


Cemetery photography, adverse to accessible perception, is boilerplate and popular. It is even assisting abundant that some companies specialize abandoned in cemetery photography. Accordingly Northstar Gallery's website reads they present "a accumulating of sensuous, accomplished art photos... of cemetery and canonizing art from about the apple [that analyze and offer] balladry and annotation [on] the actual role of canonizing and cemetery art in man's attempt with mortality, immortality, salvation, afterlife and transcendence."

Also, constant with tourism, cemetery photography (separate and audible from post-mortem photography) dates aback to the medium's infancy. It was not affiliated afterwards the daguerreotype was invented that photographers captured images of cemeteries. Southworth & Hawes, conceivably the a lot of acclaimed daguerreotypist duo captured no beneath than seven images from Mount Auburn Cemetery (Cambridge, MA). By the 1860s with the development of stereoview, cemetery photography acquired in accepting with Green-Wood Cemetery and its breathtaking angle getting a admired a allotment of photographers.

Passive Recreation:

Passive recreational activities at cemeteries date aback added than a century. During the Victorian-era (1837-1901), cemeteries were the capital breadth if not the abandoned breadth of a breadth to admire acquiescent recreational activities aback abounding burghal areas had no arboretums, no parks, and no museums. At one point so abounding visitors flocked to Laurel Hill that the cemetery had to affair aboideau passes and bind Sunday visits to ancestors associates of the deceased.

Consistent with the affiliated accepting of cemeteries for acquiescent recreational activities, Michael O'Hearn in Visit Mt. Auburn Cemetery writes, it "is a acting retreat from the burghal bustle into a apple of trees, birds, [chipmunks], rabbits and statuary. While it sounds unlikely, such places do exist... Mt. Auburn possesses a assorted landscape, ponds and glens, hills and dells. The plantings and copse are so blubbery in places that from aloft they attending like a forest. The monuments... appearance an arrangement of styles and themes." With its "winding anchorage and paths called afterwards flowers and trees" Mt. Auburn (founded in 1831 and the nation's aboriginal landscaped garden cemetery) defies connotations of the academic graveyard.

In addition, a November 2009 letter from Executive Director Brian Sahd of Accompany of the Woodlawn Cemetery (founded 1863 in the Bronx, NY) states, "Woodlawn is an absurd ability for all of us... [It is much] added than a abode of rest... [it is one of New York's greatest treasures - affluent in irreplaceable architecture, history, culture, and accustomed wonders... Its 400 acreage of rolling hills and awe-inspiring architectonics allure you to footfall into a apple alfresco of time. About every bend is addition amazing abrupt discovery. The absolute mural actually is a beheld barbecue of adroit beauty. A Greek temple follows an obelisk, accompanied by the aerial bronze of entwined lovers. Azalea bushes blossom beneath aerial elms and adroit willows. Bird songs accompany the play of cottontail rabbits, and chipmunks. A rock arch spans a peaceful lagoon, amidst by affected reminders of New York City's greatness."


Cemetery weddings aggrandize and redefine the archetype - "...unto afterlife do us part" aback afterlife charge no best abstracted spouses who can be active calm at their marriage site.

As with tourism, even admitting cemetery weddings are accepting added accepting and getting captivated at added venues, they are not a new phenomenon. Aback 1928 added than 60,000 weddings accept been performed at Backwoods Lawn Cemetery (Los Angeles, CA) alone.

When Lisa Rigby was requested to photograph Kate's and Daniel's marriage at Mount Auburn Cemetery, she was, in her words, "so excited." "Growing up, I spent so abundant time in a beautiful, rambling, landscaped cemetery abreast our house. For us kids the cemetery wasn't some chilling banned place. It was breadth we rode bikes in the summer and congenital snowmen in the winter. It was breadth we absolved my cocker spaniel, ran and played, and sat to allocution with accompany for hours on end... I consistently anticipation it was sad that so abounding humans were abashed of the cemetery," she wrote on August 21, 2009 in a blog access about Kate's and Daniel's marriage (all of which the columnist can analyze with accepting developed up with my brother next to a baby celebrated cemetery for the aboriginal seven years of my activity in which the cemetery was the ambience for abounding amateur of hunt and hide-and-seek with the adjacency kids and a lot safer than the parking lot next door).

At the aforementioned time, Kate wrote, "[We] were affiliated at Mount Auburn Cemetery... I apperceive it may assume like an odd best for a wedding, but it's a admirable place, our admired in Cambridge. If we airing through it, I acquisition it affective to anticipate about all of the lives that are actual there."

When Sheryl and Kurt affiliated in 1990 at Wisconsin Canonizing Park's Chapel of Chimes with its church-like setting, alveolate ceilings, decrepit bottle windows, and bank art depicting the Last Supper that serves as allotment catacomb and allotment museum, the benedict anticipation it "perfectly accustomed and ambrosial neat" while the helpmate added, "our marriage was just like any added wedding" according to an anniversary accounting by William J. Lizdas in Affiliated in a cemetery? Some admire the abstraction (JS Online, 20 May 2009).

With accretion numbers of cemeteries aperture their gates to weddings, Spring Grove Cemetery's (Cincinnati, OH) website reads, "Congratulations on your accessible nuptials... We action a array of different locations for you to authority your ceremony. The Norman Chapel... congenital in 1880 boasts several admirable decrepit bottle windows... The Garden Courtyard... amid in the foreground breadth of the cemetery/arboretum... is buried with Hybrid Tea Roses, as able-bodied as added ablaze anniversary flowers."

Symbolism and Alteration Perceptions:

Cemeteries are abounding with apologue (which accommodate a agency of ambidextrous with bloodshed and accouterment a affinity of ascendancy over death), carvings and epitaphs (used to afford ablaze on the asleep whom accept been bargain to simple names (when they still abide on asperous tombstones) (e.g. "Here lies the charcoal of Hannah, the Wife of Solomon Gedney, who dep: this activity April 1788 Age-old 37 Yrs." and "Stop Reader Eer the Passeth this rock nor behindhand be told that abreast its Bass (sic) lies deposited the charcoal of Mary Dixon, Wife of John Dixon, a woman whose acceptability was spotless and whose activity was spent in the convenance of advantage accepting by her allegiant backbone and built-in ability of Physique allowable the admire of all who knew her. She ancient this activity August 12th 1811 age-old 53 years" categorical on tombstones in Eleazor Gedney Burying Ground, Mamaroneck, NY) and the values, hopes (e.g. "She is not dead, the adolescent of our amore - But has gone to realms above" categorical on a cairn for Paulina, babe of Charles and Sarah Ann Gedney who died on May 9, 1856 at 5 Years, 1 Month, and 11 Days aswell at Eleazor Gedney Burying Ground, Mamaroneck, NY) and behavior of accomplished eras), both of which arose with a admiration to bethink the dead, and accept afflicted with the ages as amusing perceptions and means of arresting accept evolved.

For example, the skull and basic that came to characterize afterlife for their use on tombstones in 18th aeon Spanish cemeteries were replaced by cherub active by the mid 1800s as the abstraction of afterlife became socially beneath alarming and the complaining willow acclimated to portray affliction and aching during the 18th aeon to mid 19th aeon were supplanted by added plants - abnormally lilies to afford a added absolute ablaze on afterlife while emblematic the awakening and afterlife.

Common Victorian-era symbols that accept gradually abolished from use based on alteration amusing credo and demographics are black and complaining women (since 19th aeon norms precluded men from assuming emotion; appropriately memorials utilizing men depicted them in a arresting light), the use of accouchement and cherubs activated to adjure anguish at the accident of a child, which had been accepted during those times, and prevalence of urn argosy (since an urn represented the physique as a alembic that captivated the soul) and sometimes, admitting to a decidedly bottom extent, added images draped with a cloak (clothe acclimated to awning a coffin).

Other symbols begin in Victorian-era cemeteries are gates (symbol of the gates of Heaven), Celtic crosses (symbol of the four admonition on a ambit and mind, body, heart, and soul), birds in flight (symbol of the physique borne aloft), aching doves (symbol of bawl and even the Holy Spirit), wreathes (symbol of glory), crosses (symbol of the resurrection), and Star of David (symbol of accretion and of the Jewish people).

Angels are still acclimated to "soften the certitude of death" and to accommodate comfort. Some sit at anniversary ancillary of a grave with "heads bowed, as if attention the bodies of ancient souls" to affluence the anguish of cavern tombs.[2]

Generally, today's apologue no best angle afterlife as an assured certitude in which our bloodshed is lamented but rather as a new alpha because of the achievement of the afterlife to come. As a result, angels and added emblematic abstracts generally point aerial as a admonition that the asleep lives in Heaven and tombstones generally portray biblical abstracts such as Jesus (the ultimate attribute of resurrection), Mary, Joseph and biblical scenes such as The Last Supper, the Pieta, and Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Added graves are apparent by tombstones or arena markers that awning sculpted images, categorical or arresting photographs, with some high-tech tombstones consisting of even audio (of the asleep speaking) or video (of important moments of a deceased's life) played aloft demand.


Consistent with alteration cemetery symbolism, mausolea (which date aback to 353 BC if Queen Artemisia II congenital the world's a lot of baroque tomb as a accolade to her backward husband, King Mausolus of Caria) accept aswell acquired through the ages from dark, gloomy, banned places that captivated the charcoal of arresting families and a few associates of the accessible (when amplitude was available) to multi-story edifices congenital accurately for the accessible with bright, ambient décor advised to address to the living.

Prior to the appearance of new mausolea that began in the aboriginal 20th century, acclaimed Greeks and Romans congenital their own mausolea for centuries until the acceleration of Christianity, in which abandoned saints were acceptable to accept monuments (typically churches) congenital at their graves. However, basic in the 19th century, affluent Americans active the convenance and even admitting such 19th and aboriginal 20th aeon mausolea appeared absorbing on the outside, they generally consisted of dark, narrow, tiny spaces that in the words of Jack Naudi, New catacomb accumulate active in apperception (Post-Dispatch, November 6, 2003) were "cold and annoying to the living."

However, with the new bearing of mausolea (with congenital in skylights, stained-glass windows, costly furniture, and animated brightness) that abide of ancestors crypts, individual crypts, niches, and urn cabinets (the closing two for cremated remains), aloft arena entombment, which has been accepted in Europe for centuries and a call for New Orleans cemeteries because of their area beneath sea level, is acceptable more accepted in the United States and locations of Asia. Appropriately these new mausolea are abacus to the cemetery acquaintance because of their ambrosial attributes and accumulation margins because of their ability of space.


With the redefining of the cemetery abstraction aimed at maximizing their address and casework to the living, cemeteries are no best simple repositories for the dead. Instead they are multipurpose accessories that are affiliated to the communities they serve, bringing humans calm above the constraints of afterlife while able an unforgettable, abating acquaintance to all who blot their arresting scenery, appearance their affluent history and architecture, analysis ancestry and alteration amusing perceptions through tourism, photography, and acquiescent recreation, and of advance bethink their admired dead. At the aforementioned time, they are accouterment serene, tasteful comatose places for the asleep that even the active can attending advanced to if our assured day arrives.

20 Notable Cemeteries:

1. Arlington National Park - Arlington, VA, USA

2. Bonaventure Cemetery - Savannah, GA, USA

3. Crown Hill Cemetery - Indianapolis, IN, USA

4. Backwoods Lawn Cemetery - Los Angeles, CA, USA

5. Green-Wood Cemetery - Brooklyn, NY, USA

6. Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 - New Orleans, LA, USA

7. Lake Appearance Cemetery - Cleveland, OH, USA

8. Laurel Hill Cemetery - Philadelphia, USA

9. Montparnasse Cemetery - Paris, France

10. Awe-inspiring Cemetery - Milan, Italy

11. Mount Auburn Cemetery - Cambridge, MA

12. Mount Achievement Cemetery - Rochester, NY

13. Novodevichye Cemetery - Moscow, Russia

14. Oakland Cemetery - Atlanta, GA, USA

15. Old Granary Burying Arena - Boston, MA, USA

16. Père Lachaise Cemetery - Paris, France

17. Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Canonizing Park Cemetery - Los Angeles, CA, USA

18. St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 - New Orleans, LA, USA

19. Steglieno Cemetery - Genoa, Italy

20. Woodlawn Cemetery - Bronx, NY, USA


[1] Paul Lukas. Final Destinations Why Sightseers attention cemetery tours as a worthwhile, ahem, undertaking. CNN 1 May 2000. 31 October 2009.

[2] Ed Snyder. The Afterlife Referenced in Cemetery Apologue (Part 1). 22 May 2006. 5 November 2009.


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