Friday, January 11, 2013

bury me in tile

  Costa Rica has some of the happiest, least creepy looking grave yards I've ever seen.  This country boasts a plethora of gorgeous graveyards with well manicured grounds, beautiful pathways, and touching commemorations to the dead.  When I saw my first graveyard here, I thought it odd that many of the above ground graves would be covered in white tile.  I still am amazed at how shiny they manage to keep the tiles, and what a bright happy impression it gives the grave yard.  Each burial ground is like a park for the weary dead to prance around in their new weightless forms.  

  I think the contrast between graveyards in Costa Rica and the US (in materials, colors and upkeep) may reflect on each respective cultures' view on death and the dead.  Although many graveyards in the US are well kempt, they often have a feeling of loneliness and sorrow.  Perhaps it's the dreary grey concrete that adorns each grave, or the lack of flowers, or just the general lack of visitors to each burial site.  Rarely have I seen people visiting their dead in the corner of the US where I lived before, and I find that oddly sad and cultureless.  In Costa Rica the graveyards have a feeling of lightness and peace, probably an effect of the light and bright colors used for tombstones and crosses.  Walking through a costarican graveyard is a pleasant and peaceful experience, whereas many US graveyards tend to make pedestrians squeamish and uncomfortable. 

  When a pass by a graveyard in Costa Rica, I often see people visiting their dead relatives, bringing them flowers or stories of their children.  They respect their dead, and they respect their living relatives, perhaps leaps and bounds more than in the U.S. where career is king and family and relationships usually take second place.  I think I know where I don't want to be buried.

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