Cemeteries Around The World
Although cemeteries in many parts of the world are seen as grim and unfrequented places, there are other corners of the world that treat them entirely differently, and their appearances could not be more different.
Guatemala – The Rainbow Cemeteries
Without a doubt what makes Guatemala’s cemeteries stand out is the fact that they have so many colours! You can see a Guatemalan cemetery from miles away, as all the gravestones are painted in different colours. It is really a sight to see.
Ecuador – A Happening Place
What sticks out most for the cemeteries in Ecuador is not specifically their appearance but rather what happens at the beginning of November. To be honest, I’m not sure if it happens in all the cemeteries in Ecuador or if the little village that we were in for day of the dead happened to be particular. Essentially the way it worked out was this, on November second, everyone cooked up a storm (the night before) and brought all of the food down to the cemetery in the morning. They installed around the graves of their dearly departed and shared food with friends and neighbours. The drinking started, the partying started, and basically they used this one day to say goodbye to everyone that had passed away within the last year. Really, it’s a whole story itself, that I’ll be writing up soon, but the way that the Ecuadorians turn their cemetery into the place to be for a couple of days every year certainly earns them a spot on the list.
Canada – Big Spaces
Canada, as my home country, happens to be what I think of for having ‘normal’ cemeteries. However, after visiting a fair few in my travels, it’s become apparent that Canada tends to do cemeteries in their own way as well. Specifically, many Canadian cemeteries could be mistaken for Parks, with giant trees and green space, squirrels and birds living it up with the dead. It’s not a rule throughout the country, but in general Canada goes down as the country that puts the most nature into their cemeteries. (At least of the ones I’ve visited)
France – Star Power
This post was undoubtedly inspired by a recent trip to perhaps one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. Pere Lachaise cemetery in France has the likes of Osar Wilde, Jim Morrisson, Emile Zola, Edith Piaf, amongst a whole list of famous celebs buried within its grounds. Sure, all the cemeteries in France are not of this sort, but this one is really a kicker! Huge and elaborate head stones that have been carved into shrines and statues sit beside the most humble of grave plots. If nothing else, the grave of Oscar Wilde, with it’s many shades of puckered lipstick marks from devoted fans that just had to get in one last kiss, both on the headstone itself and on the protective glass that was placed to keep the painted lips off headstone make this place worth a visit.
When you travel, you never really know what sort of things are going to pop up and make you realize that what you always took as being ‘nomal’ back home was merely the way that your own society does it. Cemeteries and the manner in which they differ around the world is a prime example.