Cemetery Culture

Many people who come to Latvia comment on the beautiful, carefully tended graveyards dotting the country. Not just in the larger towns but also smaller villages, Latvian cemeteries are like sanctuaries or parks with well-manicured hedges surrounding family plots, shady trees, and benches for the elderly to sit, and pray, remembering their loved ones. Emphasis in graveyards is on making them feel homely, a place to want to go and visit, not avoid. A place to remember, maybe even share life’s joys and worries with one’s loved ones, a place to recharge, to also commune with nature. Failing to visit the cemetery and allowing the graves of one’s relatives to overgrow is frowned upon.