Sunday, 2 November 2008

The graveyard shift

Yesterday was All Saints' Day, called Toussaint in France, and here it is the custom to place flowers on graves, in particular chrysanthemums, so much so that these flowers are inextricably linked with death and funerals.  Most, if not all, local flower displays will be primarily made up of chrysanthemums too.

Our local square newly replanted with chrysanthemums for Toussaint.

French graveyards seem to me to be rather grey and forbidding, so the flowers cause quite a transformation.

From this, taken four weeks ago:

To this, taken yesterday:

Whether Toussaint or not, French graveyards look very different from English ones.  The following picture, taken at a small parish church in England last spring, is very typical.

Plenty of greenery and grass all around.  Yew trees, once considered sacred, are very frequently found in British graveyards.  Here they are clipped into topiary shapes.

Recently in the UK, woodland burials have been gaining in popularity.  My parents chose a more natural and environmentally friendly place to be buried, with the grave marked by a tree and the area kept as wild and natural as possible.  People are encouraged to plant trees and wild flowers rather than leaving pots of chrysanthemums here.

Woodland burial would be my choice I think, though I'm fairly sure it isn't available in France.  Are green/natural burial sites allowed elsewhere in the world?  Are they increasing in popularity as they are in the UK?
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  1. I'd opt for a green burial too.

  2. (Now you can subscribe to comments by email. That's the subscribe link in line with the Preview button.)

    The French graveyard is very different! The graves don't appear very deep! The UK one looks to be much like the ones in the US. My choice is to be cremated.

  3. Great photos. We also went to the cemetery last Nov. 1 to remember departed loved ones.

  4. I prefer to be cremated and my ashes scattered into the sea.

    As land is scarce in tiny Singapore, the Government encourages cremation.

    Graves from long time ago were exhumed and the remains cremated and stored in temples or churches.

  5. I live in a small town and the graves here are still in peoples yards. By yards I mean acreage. Very green with lots of trees. Very nice pictures. A. I have a new web site called http://justapush and I linked to you. Look at it if you have a chance.

  6. What a lovely bridge in the old town there in France :-) In our sommer holiday we went to see that country for the first time. Just marevelous and beautiful. Spesially the small towns up in the mountains.

    A great picure and a great bridge.

  7. I love the flowers that decorate the graves. You did a good job showing what they look like.


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