Wondering Why?

Why do cemeteries have fences?

Cemeteries are places or spaces wherein the dead are buried or laid to rest.  Cemeteries of the past and present are basically similar in the sense that most of these spaces have fences surrounding them.  This similarity has also led some people to ask why this is so.

One basis reason for the fencing around cemeteries is to literally define the area as a place for the dead.  With so many beliefs and superstitions surrounding the dead, people in the past literally erected fences to define a specific area for burial site purposes.  Some people in the past believed that the dead deserved to have a place of their own and marking cemeteries with fences is an appropriate thing to do.  There are also people who associate burial sites with lots of negative beliefs and superstitions and so fencing became a necessary step to clearly define spaces that are intended for the dead and those for the living.

Fencing is also done in cemeteries to give protection to the area itself.  In the past, grave sites are considered sacred spaces and so fencing was done in order to protect the site from possible intruders and vandalism for example.  Fencing also served as protection for the gravestones and other items inside cemeteries. This is especially true for huge public and private cemeteries.  Fences around graveyards and cemeteries were also practical in the past as it also meant protection from wild animals.  Many cemeteries are located in open spaces near the woods for example and the only way to protect visitors is to have fences at the perimeter of the graveyards.  People wouldn’t feel safe visiting their dead loved ones in a cemetery located near grasslands for example because some wild animals like bears and wolves might be present in the area.  To guard against possible animal attacks, operators and owners of cemeteries were forced to protect the area with perimeter fencing.

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