When do you pay a visit to your family’s graves in the States?

Q: When do you pay a visit to your family’s graves in the States?
(*In Japan, we have a custom of paying a visit to our family’s graves and praying on their memorial days or during the Bon holidays and Higan week.)

A: In short? We really don’t.

The most common religion in the US is Christianity, and Christianity expressly forbids the worship of ancestors .
Because of this, we have an odd response to death and the dead – most Westerners fear death and the dead, and would never want a holiday that invites our dead ancestors into our homes!

We also do not commonly have family graves. Each person is buried in their own grave, and these graves may not be in the same location. The fee we pay to be buried in a cemetery covers routine maintenance of the site, so there is no need to visit if we don’t want to. The US is very large, and family members may not even be able to afford to visit the grave of a family member.

When a grave is visited depends on the family. People who are recently deceased tend to receive more visits, as the grief of their loved ones is fresh. Sometimes families will bring flowers to the grave of a person on their birthday. The graves of children tend to be visited more often than those of adults, and we might see toys and photos left behind by visitors. Some people never go to the grave site at all after the funeral, and choose to remember their loved one privately.

The only real “mass” grave visit in the US is Memorial Day.  When someone who was a member of the military dies, their family (or sometimes a local veterans group) may visit the grave on Memorial Day. At this time, we often see American flags planted on the graves of deceased soldiers. This is seen as a sign of respect for and gratitude to the fallen soldier for their sacrifice.



A:  端的に言うと、私たちはお墓参りしないの。