Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ten Things I Loved About Denmark: Number Seven... Graveyards

Since I've done no creating in the past month and have another week of vacation with my family planned, I'll be posting some of the highlights of my trip....

You can tell so much about a society by how they honor their dead.  Starting with the Vikings who sent the bodies of warriors on a burning ship into the sunset, and culminating in glorious graveyards which pay tribute to ancestors, the Danes have taken respect for their ancestors to a level much higher than we have in the United States.  

Kolding Lutheran Church of My Family

This is the church where my grandmother was baptized and confirmed.  Its cemetery also holds more than a dozen of her ancestors, her grandparents, and several of her siblings.  Each plot is carefully outlined with shrubs or flowers, and meticulously manicured.

As in most Danish church yards, after fifty years, the bodies are removed and the plots are resold...  unless the family pays to have the plots remain undisturbed.  Our family has a trust which covers the maintenance of the many graves at this church.  I feel so fortunate to have been to the graveside of so many of my forefathers.  


Another favorite grave site was in Skagen, which is at the northern most tip of Denmark.  There is not much good soil on this wind whipped plot, so the families decorate the grave sites with rocks from the shore.  I loved these two examples of hearts.  I could just feel the love and loss of those left behind.

This was one site where the gravestones which had been removed to make way for new burials had been pushed to the back of the grave yard and stood like sentinels, guarding the dead.

I tfound this interesting grave stone at a small church on the island of Aero.  I later learned that it was mass produced... and we saw many like it in other church yards.  It is still quite interesting, though.  I think it needs a little bird on one of the branches...

1 comment:

Lynne said...

I love the pictures of the rocks and gravestones AND your quilts of the map and birds. I am an art quilter too. The gravestones hit home for me. It is traditional in Judaism for people to leave stones on the gravestone instead of flowers because stones last for eternity and flowers shrivel and die. Don't know where the cemetery was located, but the tree stone is wonderful. Lynne

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