The beautiful culture of cemeteries and graveyards
One of the many benefits of traveling South Carolina is discovering locations steeped in history, art, and cultural traditions. Some of the best spots for experiencing these treasures are cemeteries and graveyards.
The word cemetery is Greek for “sleeping place.” And a cemetery is different from a graveyard. Cemeteries are burial places located on non-church grounds, while graveyards are burial grounds located on or near a church property.
The headstones in cemeteries and graveyards are memorial stones set in memory of a person. Dating back to Roman and Celtic cultures, headstones are comprised of limestone, sandstone, metamorphic shale, and granite. Headstones made from shale and granite ensure the most enduring memorials. Early headstone art depicted death with skulls and crossbones, while graphics have softened over time to include flowers and angels as well as loving words for a deceased family member.
Walking through centuries-old graveyards reveals the social and financial status of individuals during a particular era in time. You can find massive, towering, marble memorial monuments alongside simple stones with no inscriptions. An elevated political or church status usually meant a closer burial to the church.
While touring South Carolina’s graveyards and cemeteries, you will find poignant memorials located in large cities and small towns or on the grounds of country churches. And, family plots are tucked in fields and on farms. Be respectful of these hallowed grounds while also discovering the history and cultures of times past.