Cemeteries & Cementarios
June 5, 2010 by David Stansbury

On one of my family’s recent trips to the beautiful and tranquil Mexican city of Mérida, Yucatán, my daughter and I decided to visit the historic”Cementario Géneral de Mérida”.

This large cemetery, which was established more than 100 years ago, is not so different from the ones here in New England or in other parts of the country. There are rows of graves with family names and flowers placed in remembrance of the deceased, and the form of the house as a shelter for the dead has developed in both places, but more so in Mexico I think. Ours here tend to be more abstract, often only revealed as a headstone with a roof-like triangular top or more like a temple, while in Mérida they really look like little houses. The big difference is color. We just don’t have much in our cemeteries, it’s more like shades of gray with a little soft brown or green marble occasionally visible. I think it comes from the long held belief that monuments, that is Greek and Roman ones, didn’t have color and thus our monuments to the deceased shouldn’t have color either. But in Mexico almost all the little houses for the  dead are painted in bright pastel colors. Of course the difference could be simply derived from the difference in climate. There is color all year round in Mexico—I wonder what a New England burial ground would look like in the snow with bright pastel gravestones?

Here are some photos from the Mérida cemetetary and the graveyard adjacent to the Rockingham Meeting House in Vermont.

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