Monday, 3 November 2008

Not Spooky Cemetery Story

I have often wondered how different the cemeteries look in different cultures. Of course my opinion is based mostly on films and news material and only partially to what I have seen. This weekend was All Saints Day, which in Finland has been renamed the Day of the Deceased. We don't have saints in the Lutheran church, which is the main religion here. Anyway, this is the day to put the graves ready for the winter and take out the last summer flowers to replace them with something that will last.
Here are some pictures I took earlier this autumn when we visited the grave of my DH's grandparents and his mother. These are some of the really old gravestones. The families don't excist any longer so the places have been taken to use again and the old stones are gathered in this area within the cemetery. The Tuusula church was built in 1734, this cemetery is from a later time.

This is a general view over the cemetery.

There are usually trees growing in all cemeteries, and I think this is a typical Finnish cemetery, with graves from a long period of time and still in use.

On Saturday we were visiting my mother in Tampere and brought candles to the grave of my father and my maternal grandparents. My grandfather was one of the first to be buried in this forest cemetery of Vatiala in Tampere. The chapel was built in 1957, and it was designed by the Finnish architect Viljo Revell, who has also designed the City Hall of Toronto, Canada.

I have always loved the arch shape of the roof. It is copper plated.

This is a side view; you can see through the chapel as the side walls are all glass. The water pool is outdoors.

Here you can see the forest cemetery. The original idea was that there should be no grass on the graves but wild, evergreen brushwood like cowberry. The graves are not is straight rows, and the trees will remain where they grow.

This is the area of urn tombs, and for strewing the ashes.

There was also a place to remember loved ones who are buried elsewhere. There were lots of candles burning already in the morning of Saturday. We also bring candles to the graves on Christmas Eve. The cemetery looks very bautiful in the dark, with snow covering the ground and small candles burning on almost every grave.


  1. This is a really beautiful post. I for one love cemeteries. I like to think of the lives of the people I read about on the stones.. and how they may have changed this world. Every single one of them had a purpose for being here.

  2. i would love to stand next to those tall trees and look up at them.

  3. It is beautiful even without the snow and candlelight. That roof is so beautiful in it's weathered copper. In the UK it is rare to find a pool in a graveyard. I think the nearest we get is an outdoor old font or bird bath. :-)


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