Cemetery Etiquette: Respect the Dead and the Living

Cemetery Etiquette

Cemetery etiquette is mostly common sense. Respect the dead but also remember to respect the living who may be mourning in the cemetery as well.

Most cemeteries are “open” (for the lack of a better word) from dawn to dusk. Do not enter a cemetery when it is considered to be “closed.” If you must enter after hours be sure to contact the local police so they are aware that you are there and not someone causing trouble.

Always follow any posted rules at a cemetery. If there are none, use common sense and respect. If you are not sure if what you are doing is ok than you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

Stay on the pathways with your vehicle, NEVER drive on the grass or on a grave site!

Watch out for other people and children while driving through.

If you bring children to a cemetery, be mindful of what they are doing. Teach them complete respect. No horse play, yelling, screaming, running around etc.

No swearing or foul language while visiting a cemetery.

Turn off or silence your cell phone, radio or other electronics.

Never touch or attempt to clean a monument! Unless you are trained to do so and have permission.

NEVER remove any items from a grave site or headstone! Many family members will leave something symbolic at a grave. This is another reason to keep your children close by as kids many see a little toy or a something of value and may pick it up not realizing what they are doing.

Never leave garbage behind at a cemetery! If you see trash left behind by someone if it’s safe to do so you should pick it up.

NO partying! Some people think its “cool” to party in a cemetery, this is very disrespectful!

Report any vandalism immediately to police.

Some cemeteries allow pets, please be sure to check the rules for that cemetery before doing so. Pets are allowed to visit their deceased owner in many cemeteries. It’s good to consider your pet as part of the family and bring them for a visit but please remember to pick up after them, never allow a pet to “do their business” on or near a grave!

Never sit on a headstone! This tends to happen at burial ceremonies or when there is a group of people visiting a cemetery.

If you encounter a funeral/burial ceremony, stay far away from the gathering or come back later. Never take photos or interrupt a service or any of the guests in any way.