Have you ever seen coins left on a grave? Maybe you saw it on the grave of a friend or a family member and were wondering what it means. Should you take it home or leave it as it is? Here, we discuss the tradition of leaving coins on graves and what significance they hold.
Placing coins on a grave is a common practice among military members. If you see coins on the grave of a soldier, it means that someone had visited and paid their respects to them. Leaving the coin is a way of letting the family of the fallen know that somebody, usually another military member, came by to honor their memory and pay respects.
Did you also know that different coins have different meanings? Here is a breakdown that is easy to follow:
A penny simply means that someone, not necessarily a person who has any relations with the deceased, visited and simply wanted to honor their service and thank them and their family.
A nickel at the grave means that the person who left it and the deceased trained together at boot camp.
A dime signifies that the person who left it at the grave and the deceased served together in some capacity.
A quarter at a grave means that the person who left it was with the deceased when they passed away.
For years service men and women have used this tradition to pay their respects to the people with whom they trained or served. But sometimes, non-military people may also leave coins at graves as a way of showing their respect to a loved one who has passed. Besides, in olden days, the coins were said to hold good luck for the deceased in the afterlife.
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Death is inevitable. The emotional pain that comes with a loved one's death hurts more than any other kind of pain. There are several ways in which a person can honor a loved one's death, with the celebration of life service being one of them.
What is a celebration of life service? It is an opportunity for the family and friends of the deceased to pay tribute to the lost soul in simple terms. It is an opportunity to say goodbye in a unique way that the deceased would have enjoyed, and so do the guests. One of the best examples is a scene from the movie “P.S. I Love You” where Holly celebrates her husband Gerry's death, in a way that he loves.
While a funeral is a celebration wherein you follow certain etiquettes, a celebration of life service is a joyful event. The behavior that is considered inappropriate at a funeral may be considered acceptable at the celebration of life service. There are no rules here, except that it is based on the request of the loved one who passed or the deceased's personality.
A celebration of life is mostly held after the cremation or burial, or even at the first anniversary of the person’s death. It is mostly held in a church or the funeral home. But more often it is celebrated at home, or an outdoor venue, a park or a garden, or even a rented facility. The location depends on the passion or the interest of the deceased, or those remembering the deceased.
The celebration of life service is less traditional when compared to a funeral. Based on how the celebration is planned, you may need to wear suitable attire; mostly funeral attire or casuals. You may also send flowers to the deceased person’s family as a sign of respect. There are no steadfast rules in the celebration of life services, but when you attend one, it is vital to keep in mind that a family has lost a loved one.
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From the ancient traditions of mummification to celebrations of life today, funerals have come a long way. The way we care for the dead and say our final goodbyes has definitely been subject to the evolution of socio-cultural as well as economic changes.
Funerals in the early years
Many of the most common funeral traditions in western culture today originate from the 19th century, during the Victorian era. In fact, it was Queen Victoria herself who started wearing black to mourn the passing of Prince Albert, and the color soon came to be associated with grieving and mourning.
Towards the end of the Victorian era, the Chapel of Rest was introduced as a funeral tradition. As people became more aware and less superstitious, and concerns regarding hygiene became more widespread, the body of the deceased was kept at the Chapel of Rest, rather than at home. Friends and family members who wish to view the body and say their final goodbyes to their loved one could do so in the chapel.
As the years progressed, the role of undertakers grew in importance. Initially, woodworkers and carpenters, who had the skills to make coffins, were the undertakers. With time, undertakers took on more roles, including handling and preparation of the body, transportation, as well as organizing the funeral or memorial service.
The 21st century saw a shift in the way the dead were cared for. Due to the millions of lives lost in the First World War and bodies not returned to families, communal mourning and memorials instead of traditional funeral services became very common.
Today, there is a growing trend to hold celebrations of life rather than traditional funerals. Pre-planned funerals, personalized funerals, and memorials are popular choices.
While grief is still a very important factor, people choose to put more of their focus on the life that their loved one had lived, and celebrate and honor their memory.
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A mausoleum burial is a great alternative to the usual underground burial for those who can afford the additional costs. Put simply- a mausoleum is a tomb or chamber that has been built specifically for the purpose of laying one or more people to rest.
Two main types of mausoleums
A public mausoleum is a large building that has been built to house the remains of many people. They are kept dry and clean at all times and are extremely well-maintained. Family members and friends are free to visit, and it offers a convenient and dignified way to be remembered after death.
A private mausoleum is a mausoleum that is built only for you and your family, so it houses the remains of only family members. This above-ground burial option allows easy and private access for family members and friends who may be grieving. Usually, the remains are placed inside a casket, which is then placed inside the mausoleum. It is usually the final resting place for members of your family.
Benefits of a mausoleum burial
Today, a mausoleum burial is a great option, especially in highly-populated urban areas where there is very little land for new burial plots. Apart from this, here are some other benefits of this above-ground burial option.
You are free to visit your loved ones when you miss them and wish to be closer to them. Unlike cemeteries, you are free to visit in a private and secured area where you are free to grieve as you want.
A mausoleum protects the remains of your loved ones and keeps it safe regardless of the weather or any other kind of external risks.
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Although an in-ground/below-ground burial on a single plot is the most common type of burial, there are many other burial options available today. Where and how to bury a loved one or even yourself is a very personal decision, and it is important that you are aware of all the options available to you.
Here are the different types of burial options you may have –
In-ground burial, also known as below-ground burial, is the most common choice. It is usually accompanied by a casket that is lowered and buried 6 feet into the ground. This is great if you prefer a traditional cemetery burial. You have the option of choosing between a single plot, companion plots (usually preferred by couples), or a family plot. There might also be options for cremated remains to be buried in designated plots.
If you prefer to have your remains or the remains of your loved ones entombed above ground level, you can choose above-ground burial.
A mausoleum is a public building that has been designed to house the remains of people in caskets or vaults instead of being buried underground. You have to purchase space for the casket/vault, and you can be guaranteed that the building will be secured, clean, and dry at all times. Visitations are allowed.
A private mausoleum is just like a community mausoleum, but only for a singular family. It offers privacy and utmost security, and family members can visit anytime they want.
A lawn crypt is very similar to a private mausoleum, in that it is a private above-ground burial space, usually in your own property. However, instead of being built for an entire family, it is usually for one person or a couple who wish to be buried together.
This is a structure like a mausoleum but designed for cremated remains. Some religious organizations and churches might have one available for members’ remains to be securely interred on the property.
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