The Unique Way Idahoans of the Victorian Era Used Cemeteries
Picnics & Parties at Cemeteries Oh, My!
Nothing gives us FOMO more than the prospect of our own death. Even if we die old and warm our my bed, we'll still want to hang out with our favorite people. Birthdays, holidays, the Super Bowl, Shark Week—we don't want to miss a thing.
For a lot of people, the concept of "resting in peace" is something like an endless slumber under the shade of a big beautiful oak tree. If that helps them "rest easy," fantastic. Energizers like ourselves, however, would rejoice from beyond the grave if our family and friends threw, say, a picnic or even a barbeque at our grave site. If that seems bizarre to you, it didn't to our ancestors.
Party Like It's the 19th Century
During the 19th century, our great-great grandparents knew how to celebrate life and death; and they often did so in cemeteries. For many municipalities around the country, local cemeteries were utilized much like public parks are today. Clad in a polonaise, ladies of the Victorian era would walk among the tombstones parasols in-hand on their way to a luncheon at the family lot.
According to Atlas Obscura, epidemics of the time period played a significant role in popularizing picnics and social gatherings on hallowed grounds.
One of the reasons why eating in cemeteries had become a 'fad,' as some reporters called it, was that epidemics were raging across the country: Yellow fever and cholera flourished; children passed away before turning 10; women died during childbirth. Death was a constant visitor for many families, and in cemeteries, people could 'talk' and break bread with family and friends, both living and deceased.
Can You Picnic in Idaho Cemeteries?
The Idaho Funeral Service Association in Meridian confirmed picnics or gatherings of any kind are regulated by each cemetery.
After calling multiple Treasure Valley cemeteries, the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery was the only one that banned the practice. As long as people are respectful, avoid walking on grave sites, and maintain the integrity and cleanliness of the cemetery, Idahoans are welcome to picnic or even barbeque with their dearly departed ones!
How do you feel about cemetery picnics? Have you ever attended one?
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