For many an important part of the grieving process is visiting the grave site of the loved one. The opportunity to visit the cemetery or mausoleum demonstrates in a concrete way that the deceased has not been forgotten.

The Protestant Christian tradition does not have official customs or regulations about how often friends or family should visit the cemetery. The grave may be attended by family and friends to show honor and respect for the deceased.

Location of the Cemetery

In some communities, it was common for each church to have a small cemetery adjacent to the church building. This small area allowed church members and their families to have a cemetery that would be close and convenient for frequent visits. While this is less common in larger cities today, there are many rural congregations that still carry on this tradition.

Many larger communities have cemeteries used by several churches. A city may have a cemetery for a specific Christian denomination, like a Presbyterian cemetery or a Methodist cemetery, or a Protestant cemetery for all of the non-Catholic churches.

Remembering and Respecting

The cemetery is a place for families and friends to mourn and reflect on the lives of the deceased. Visiting the grave site is done with respect and honor, conveying a somber, peaceful spirit. It is appropriate to bring flowers or wreaths to adorn the grave site. Trash or discarded items should be cleaned up and taken away after the visit. The one who visits the cemetery is preserving the memory of the deceased for all who will visit at later times.

Though there are not prescribed times to visit the cemetery in the Protestant churches, many find comfort on visiting on special occasions or holidays. It is appropriate for family and friends to visit on the birthday of the deceased or on a wedding anniversary. Many will want to visit on religious holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, or on political holidays like Memorial Day. Some families pick a special day of the year to have everyone gather together and visit several grave sites on the same day.