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A sexton is the office of the person or persons who are in charge of a cemetery. They are often referred to as the caretaker of a cemetery. Churches also have a sexton for the maintenance of the church building and/or the surrounding graveyard. In larger buildings, such as cathedrals, a team of sextons may be employed.
The simple difference between a graveyard and a cemetery that I can provide is, a graveyard adjoins a church whereas a cemetery does not. You can also bury ashes in a cemetery. Graveyard is the older of the two terms though they can be used interchangeably.
Before 1831, America had no cemeteries. It's not that Americans didn't bury their dead—just that large, modern graveyards did not exist. But with the construction of Mount Auburn Cemetery, a large burial ground in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the movement to build cemeteries in America began.
During the 1665 bubonic plague in England it was thought that burying infected bodies six feet under ground would prevent the spread of the plague. It has also been suggested that according to folklore a man had to be buried as deep as his height.
The "graveyard shift is an evocative term for the night shift between about midnight and eight in the morning, when - no matter how often you've worked it - your skin is clammy, there's sand behind your eyeballs, and the world is creepily silent, like the graveyard.
Survivors may cause the deceased to be buried in a secret location or other unpublished place, or in a grave with a false name (or no name at all) on the marker. When Walt Disney was cremated his ashes were buried in a secret location in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, California.
The traditional Christian method of positioning the coffin or shroud covered body in the grave was to have the body with the head to the west, feet to the east. ... There the body would then be laid on its side, head to the north and facing east. Not all burials followed the tradition nor did all cemeteries.
Of course, the word "cemetery" did not appear out of the blue when graveyards started to burst at the seams. It comes from Old French cimetiere, which meant, well, graveyard. Nevertheless, the French word originally comes from Greek koimeterion, meaning "a sleeping place".
Sayings on gravestones are called "epitaphs". Epitaphs often administered warnings about the certainty of death. As attitudes toward death have changed, epitaphs have evolved to convey hope and/or grief and some are even humorous, e.g. "I Told You I Was Sick."
Motifs such as doves, lambs, roses, etc symbolise something about the deceased - it could be the way they died, their relationships, status or age. For example, two roses mean a committed relationship, lambs are often used for children who died young, doves for peace, even plants, fruit and vegetables carry meanings when used on headstones. You can read more about these meaning in our other blogs on headstone symbolism.
Gross Fredenwalde in Germany was established around 8,500 years ago and is considered the oldest cemetery in the world. It is believed to be the earliest example of people purposely burying their dead together.
San Francisco - in 1912 burials were banned in the city and all the remains in cemeteries were relocated to Colma. Colma has served as the necropolis for San Francisco for over a century now and has more dead people than alive.