Graveyard Shift

Man painting the gravestones in a cemetery near Malaga, Spain.

Preparing for All Saints' Day. Malaga, Spain. Photo by Jon Nazca. Via Kenitra.

The Feast of All Saints is celebrated in many cultures all over the world celebrate this feast by remembering, honoring, and praying for the beloved dead. On All Saints’ Day, cemeteries become places of light and color, as relatives light candles and decorate loved ones’ tombs with flowers.

Lima, Peru. Via Photo Blog.

Today, we shift attention from the costumes, pumpkins, and ghouls of Halloween, towards the time of remembrance that is All Saints Day. Halloween, after all, is a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening, the night that points to the next day, ¬†All Hallow’s Day, or All Saints’ Day. This is the time of year when graveyards aren’t so somber, the one occasion wherein a blog post on tombs and cemeteries isn’t so morbid.


In Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Vincent West via Photo Blog.

Prep for All Saints' Day at Lostowicki Cemetery in Poland. By Michael Fudra via Demotix.

Cemeteries in Poland are a-glitter with a sea of candles in multicolored glass lamps come when night falls on All Saints’ Day, so that it looks a lot Christmas.

Cemetery in Poland. Image via Living in Trojmiasto.

Cemetery in San Gregorio, Mexico. Via Fishing in the Tiber.

In the Philippines too, people flock to the cemeteries with their candles and flowers. They typically do some cleanup and beautification on their relatives’ graves (if they haven’t availed of maintenance service), and then they set up for a picnic or even an overnight stay. They lay mats or erect tents, and unpack the food, playing cards or game boards, and yes, prayer books.

All Saints' Day in the Philippines. Via Flickr user Ric Casin.


Some folks forego the generic tombstones and epitaphs and choose to create something that may be more representative of the person underneath it. These ones are pretty amazing, ranging from breathtakingly beautiful to really gutsy choices.

Asleep by Peter Schipperheyn.

This sculpture in itself is jawdroppingly stunning. It is marks the grave of a Laurence Matheson and was commissioned by his widow from Aussie sculptor Peter Schipperheyn.

Italian writer Luigi Pirandello's grave. Via Dr. Janez Stare.

Jackson Pollock's headstone

No abstract drizzles in Pollock’s grave, just a carved boulder for this painter’s rock-solid artistic legacy.

Federico Fellini's gigantic headstone. Via Find a Grave.

Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini’s grave is a ginormous gravity-defying sculpture. It’s awesome!

Quirky Scrabble headstone. Via Tech in Lifes.

Can you tell this guy's a Star Trek and Transformers fan? Image via Tech in Lifes.

These last two are such unusual (geeky) choices and they lend a certain levity to the cemeteries that they are in.

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