While reading one of the series of Goosebumps, I got into a curiosity of knowing lots and lots of things about Graveyards!
Why? Why do you not want to read more about it? Are you getting scared?
Ahhh, so you are telling, it’s just boring, not scary, that’s why?
Ahhh, nevermind, I can understand, not everyone does want to feel braver reading about graveyards?
Am I right? Because, I must understand then, if you don’t want to read about it, it must be because you must be getting scared?
Anyways, if you anytime make your mind to read it further about graveyards, then you are most welcome. Booohooo! A History of Graveyards is something not to be skipped!
STORY OF CEMETERIES:
- Cemetery or sleeping chamber is a separate burial place for deads. The grave stones which are built in a churchyard are known as graveyards.
- Earlier, 15000 years ago, the men used to leave the deads into the caves, some on top of the mountains or some used to drop into the water. Taforalt cave in Morocco is the oldest known cemetery in the world. It was the resting place of at least 34 Iberomaurusian individuals, the bulk of which have been dated to 15,100 to 14,000 years ago.
- Cemeteries were first built by ancient Greeks, where they even used the place for recreation like anniversaries or the place to graze cattle, etc, believing that the graveyards yielded sweeter milk.
- Before cemeteries, they were different places to bury the deads such as catacombs, kurgans, necropolis, etc.
- Neolithic cemeteries are sometimes referred to by the term “grave field”. They are one of the chief sources of information on ancient and prehistoric cultures, and numerous archaeological cultures are defined by their burial customs, such as the Urnfield culture of the European Bronze Age.
- Practices varied, but in continental Europe, bodies were usually buried in a mass grave until they had decomposed.
- Those who were buried in graveyards again were divided by social status. Mourners who could afford the work of a stonemason had a headstone engraved with a name, dates of birth and death and sometimes other biographical data, and set up over the place of burial. Usually, the more writing and symbols carved on the headstone, the more expensive it was. As with most other human property such as houses and means of transport, richer families used to compete for the artistic value of their family headstone in comparison to others around it, sometimes adding a statue (such as a weeping angel) on the top of the grave.
- Those who could not pay for a headstone at all usually had some religious symbol made from wood on the place of burial such as a Christian cross; however, this would quickly deteriorate under the rain or snow. Some families hired a blacksmith and had large crosses made from various metals put on the places of burial.
- Starting in the early 19th century, the burial of the dead in graveyards began to be discontinued, due to rapid population growth in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, continued outbreaks of infectious disease near graveyards and the increasingly limited space in graveyards for new interments. In many European states, burial in graveyards was eventually outlawed altogether through legislation.
- The small parish churchyards were rapidly becoming dangerously overcrowded, and decaying matter infiltrating the water supply was causing epidemics. The issue became particularly acute after the cholera epidemic of 1831, which killed 52,000 people in Britain alone, putting unprecedented pressure on the country’s burial capacity. Concerns were also raised about the potential public health hazard arising from the inhalation of gases generated from human putrefaction under the then prevailing miasma theory of disease.
- Traditional cemeteries are composed of metal, concrete and stone and pollutes ground water with toxic chemicals. Therefore, people are now finding alternatives as a measure of preventing pollution.
- War graves will commonly have small timber remembrance crosses left with a red poppy attached to its centre. These will often have messages written on the cross. More formal visits will often leave a poppy wreath. Jewish war graves are sometimes marked by a timber Star of David.
A Prison Cemetery:
- A prison cemetery is a graveyard reserved for the dead bodies of prisoners. Generally, the remains of inmates who are not claimed by family or friends are interred in prison cemeteries.
All Souls’ Day:
- All Souls’ Day, also known as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and the Day of the Dead, is a day of prayer and remembrance for the souls of those who have died, which is observed by some Christian denominations. All Souls’ Day is often, although not exclusively, celebrated in Western Christianity.
- Saturday of Souls is a related tradition more frequently observed in Eastern Christianity. Practitioners of All Souls’ Day traditions often remember deceased loved ones in various ways on the day.
- In many countries, cemeteries are places believed to hold both superstition and legend characteristics, being used, usually at night times, as an altar in supposed black magic ceremonies or similarly clandestine happenings, such as devil worshipping, grave-robbing (gold teeth and jewelry are preferred), thrilling sex encounters or drug and alcohol abuse not related to the cemetery aura.
- The legend of zombies, as romanticized by Wade Davis in The Serpent and the Rainbow, is not exceptional among cemetery myths, as cemeteries are believed to be places where witches and sorcerers get skulls and bones needed for their sinister rituals.
Was it scary?
Not a bit…I know, I was just kidding.
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