When visiting a grave, be sure to respect the rules and regulations of your local cemetery before you leave anything at the grave.
While the Church suggests visiting a grave during the month of November, many in the United States choose Memorial Day or a different day during the summer months to visit a cemetery.
It is a custom in many parts of the United States to leave something at the grave, honoring the dead. The custom can also help in the grieving process, promoting a physical connection between the living and the deceased.
However, it’s not always appropriate to leave something at the grave. Depending on the cemetery, whatever you leave may end up being thrown away by cemetery personnel.
What can you put on a grave?
It’s important to review the rules and regulations of a cemetery before you place anything on the grave of a loved one.
The reason there are rules at a cemetery is because it is not always easy to keep the cemetery looking in pristine shape.
Depending on the type of cemetery, most need to be mowed on a regular basis, as well as trimming any grass or weeds that may be surrounding the headstones.
This means that whatever you leave at the grave may get in the way of maintenance personnel who are trying to do their job.
The most widely accepted memento that you can leave at a grave is a bouquet of flowers, or even a single flower. These can be left on the grave itself, or put in pots that are on either side of it.
Holiday decorations such as Christmas trees and national flags are also popular. If they are allowed at a cemetery, there may be time limits on how long they can remain up, and you may be asked to remove them at the end of the specific period.
In some cultures it’s traditional to leave open (or unopened) cans of beer or other favorite items that the person loved during his or her lifetime at the gravesite. Check with the cemetery before doing this.
One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in a cemetery is when parents leave toys at the graves of their young children who died. It can certainly be difficult to lose a child, but leaving a toy at a grave can also be against the rules of a cemetery.
The greatest gift you can leave at a cemetery is your prayer. The souls who died are in need of our prayers the most, and praying for a loved one can help in the grieving process as well.
The good news is that our life on earth is short, and we hope to be reunited with our loved ones in eternal life. It may be difficult to endure at the present moment, but some day all of our tears will be wiped away.