MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Cemeteries Vs. Graveyards…What’s The Difference?

It’s not pleasant to think about, but, one day, each of us will pass away. When your time comes, where will you be laid to rest: a cemetery, or a graveyard? To most folks, the two words interchangeable. But, while both refer to places where we bury the deceased, cemeteries & graveyards are actually different in multiple ways.

1. Location
Cemeteries refer to large burial grounds not affiliated with a church. A graveyard, however, refers to a burial ground located on a church’s property. Graveyards also tend to be much smaller than cemeteries.

2. Space Requirements
Starting around the 7th century AD, churches had total control over burials, which meant that most took place in the graveyards adjacent to the church. But as time passed & the population grew, graveyard space began to dwindle. And that’s when cemeteries, which weren’t affiliated with churches, came into being.

3. Religious Constraints
Because graveyards are attached to a church, they may have stipulations that only members of that particular church/faith can be buried there. Cemeteries, on the other hand, are secular, which means people of all faiths can be interred there.

4. Headstone Requirements
Similarly, church-owned graveyards may also have particular headstone requirements. Many churches typically demand that headstones be made of granite or natural stone, uncolored, unpolished, and without elaborate memorial messaging or inscriptions. Cemeteries, on the whole, have far fewer restrictions as far as headstones go. They can be as simple or as over the top as you want.

Wherever & however you’re ultimately laid to rest, hopefully we all live good enough lives so that nothing but nice things are said about us at our respective services, whether they be in cemeteries or graveyards.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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