Did you know that May is Cemetery Appreciation Month?
I first learned about it in 2021, and I have been celebrating every year since. Cemeteries are often seen as taboo and they are not often the first place someone would think to visit, but I believe that cemeteries are for the living. They are filled with history, art, and architecture, and are wonderful places to go for a stroll, or bird watching, among other things. Yes, they are resting places for our loved ones and should be respected, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy their beauty as well. Cemeteries were the blueprints for today’s public parks, after all.
So how do you celebrate? In 2021, I created a mini bucket list of things to do during the month to foster an appreciation for cemeteries. It was a nice excuse to spend more time outside. I had a lot of fun completing everything on my list. Some activities on my list included visiting a cemetery I had not visited before, and re-visiting a favorite local cemetery.
This year I wanted to do something a little different. I’m a graphic designer by trade and wanted to create something that would bring my two loves together—design and cemeteries. I was also inspired by a cemetery scavenger hunt I took part in last October. I thought it would be really fun to do something similar with my group of friends.
So I thought why not design a Cemetery Bingo card?
It’s a great activity to do in a group or solo and lets you explore the world of cemetery symbols. I created my cards using my cemetery photographs as a reference. I illustrated 40 symbols that are commonly found on gravestones. I included the name beneath the symbol as well, to help identify common motifs you might find while walking in a cemetery.
To play, all you need to do is print out a copy, bring something to mark your cards, and go for a walk in your local cemetery. Match the symbols on the card to what you find on the gravestones. The first one to get a full line wins! You can make that two lines, or even a full card to make it a bit more challenging. I can see this being a fun tool to introduce your friends and family to cemeteries and help explore gravestone symbolism. It could also be a fun activity for kids.
Please remember to be respectful when visiting your local cemeteries. For a guide on cemetery etiquette, you can read a previous blog post I wrote about the rules I follow when visiting a cemetery here.
My friends and I will be going on a cemetery road trip very soon, and I think it will be a great opportunity to try out the bingo cards. We have a lot planned already, but I think we can fit in a round of Cemetery bingo. I’ll be sharing how our cemetery bingo plays out in my stories on Instagram on May 6th.
Do you want to play too? You can download a set of 4 cards here, for free.
For best results, send this print-ready file to a local print shop, or you can print them at home on your home printer. Just be careful when you are trimming the pages. Then all you need are some markers, stickers, or bingo dabbers to mark off your finds and have fun! Make sure to tag me in your photos or stories on Instagram and Facebook.
Happy Cemetery Appreciation Month!
Thanks for reading!