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Please follow the rules and observe cemetery etiquette

A view of the entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery.

Are you aware of cemetery etiquette?

As people are doing what they can to get fresh air and exercise during the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders from the governor, many are visiting Oak Grove and Olivet cemeteries.

Outside the main gates of both, there are signs with the rules displayed prominently. Please take the time to stop and read them before you enter.

And please remember these are private cemeteries and although there are rituals and guidelines for a burial, there are also things to remember when visiting cemeteries at other times.

While walking through the paths remember cemeteries are somber places for quiet reflection where friends, family and loved ones of those buried there spend time praying and paying respects.

A scene inside Oak Grove Cemetery.

Although beautiful, cemeteries are not parks. nor are they a place to stop and have a picnic. Or ride a bike or play ball.

Many of the grave markers are quite old and fragile and if they are damaged, they cannot be replaced. In addition, there are employees performing maintenance who are already navigating around graves and other natural elements, not expecting a ball or young child to be running around unsupervised. So if you bring your children to a cemetery, make sure you teach them the rules. 

Above all, please be respectful. Not just while walking on the paths, but also of the areas around all graves, especially the ones where the earth has not settled.

Please read and follow the rules while inside a cemetery.

Please do not play loud music or raise your voices.

Please do not take things from the graves that friends and family members may have left for their loved ones. Or allow your children to play on or with items found there.

If you are taking your dog for a walk through the main or side pathways, clean up after your dog and take your trash out with you. Also do not let the pet get too close to any headstones or items left there.

Be sure to follow all rules displayed at both entrances.

Before you decide to enter, please read and follow the rules.

And, if you want to take photos, please do not include people who may be there paying their respects or attending a burial.

In fact, avoid areas with active funerals.

 It is perfectly acceptable to go for a walk (or even a jog) through a cemetery, but steer clear of areas where a burial is taking place. Do not ride a bike or skateboard through a cemetery.

Climbing on gravestones or monuments, running over the grass around grave markers or playing noisy games is not allowed.

In fact, avoid touching any gravestones that do not belong to your family. This includes sitting on them, leaning against them, or even doing gravestone rubbings.

Please also respect the cemetery borders.

Think of a cemetery as an outdoor church and please behave accordingly.

The Freer Road entrance to Olivet Cemetery where many bike riders choose to enter and ride through the cemetery. Parents, please remind your children not to do this. 
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7 thoughts on “Please follow the rules and observe cemetery etiquette”

  1. It’s about time this topic was addressed and done so well. I don’t like peoples dogs using my family’s grave stone as a fire hydrant either!

  2. Well done. While I don’t have family buried here I can think of a time when a family might want to have a picnic around a loved one’s grave, say the deceased ‘s birthday , or the anniversary of their death in memory of happy times when all were together.

    Dorothy Greer, CRC

  3. Its unfortunate that some people need to be reminded (or maybe in some cases, taught) that cemeteries are a place of rest, peace and – above all – respect for our deceased loved ones. Its not a playground or an amusement park. Common sense and courtesy seems to be lacking these days.

  4. As Dorothy Greer commented about having a picnic by a family grave, when park-like cemeteries as we know today were being opened in the mid 19th century picnicking at a family grave was a very common practice. Of course back then there was no litter to be left lying around after the picnic was over and no one was playing loud music or other activities that would be disrespectful in a cemetary.


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