When most people think of a cemetery the first thing that usually comes to mind is a somber funeral or a place for reflection and remembrance. But when the city of Austin surveyed residents in an effort to create a Cemetery Vision Plan they found those aren’t the only activities that happen in public cemeteries.
One in 10 Austinites Exercise at Cemeteries
Collectively, 10.5% of the Austin residents that were surveyed said they visited a cemetery in the past year to exercise. When asked about the most common reasons why people visit local cemeteries the researchers found:
8.4% of respondents went to walk or run for exercise
2.1% of respondents went to bicycle
But the percentage of people going to Austin cemeteries for fitness purposes could actually be higher. The survey also had open-ended questions that allowed respondents to write their own reasons. Some of the people who included open-ended responses had previously stated they never visited cemeteries so the percentages are conservative.
Other Things That Austinites Do at Cemeteries
What else brings Austinites to cemeteries? Over a quarter of Austin residents don’t frequent cemeteries at all according to the survey results. Those that do find themselves there for various reasons. Not surprisingly, the most common reason people go to Austin cemeteries is to visit the gravesite of a loved one. Over a third (37.4%) cited that as the reason they had visited an Austin cemetery within the last year.
Here are some other reasons people visit Austin cemeteries throughout the year.
Help Maintain the Cemetery Grounds
In an open-ended question a number of respondents noted they went to cemeteries with the purpose of maintaining the public space. The following reasons for visiting a cemetery were provided by the respondents:
- Look into the condition and upkeep of the cemetery.
- Checking on a tree that was planted at a family plot.
- Caring for plants and trees.
- Assessing the condition of trees.
Respondents also noted that they went to an Austin cemetery to put flags on the graves of veterans on holidays such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day, as well as to clean them up.
Most likely many of these people are in the 37.4% that go to Austin cemeteries to visit the graves of loved ones. Typically, any maintenance at gravesites is managed by the family, but it’s not uncommon for families to take an interest in the upkeep of the cemetery as a whole.
Learn About the Past
Some people visit graves because they have an interest in learning more about the past. One benefit of cemeteries is they do hold historical records and have a place in the history of the city. The following were cited as reasons for visiting Austin cemeteries:
Researching genealogy – 2.4%
On a tour – 3.1%
Interest in history – 9.4%
Surprisingly, at least one respondent said in the open-ended question that a school field trip brought them to a cemetery in the past year.
Some people are artistically inspired at Austin cemeteries. That may sound grim, but it makes sense when you think about the many ornate headstones and markers. The grounds of the cemetery can also be quite beautiful. For example, Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery and Prayer Gardens just outside of Austin is known for its impressive outdoor artwork.
Artistic activities that happen in Austin cemeteries include:
Photography – 0.7%
Drawing/sketching/painting – 0.3%
Respondents also noted in the open-ended questions that they visited a cemetery because they enjoyed the artwork and setting.
Another takeaway from the Speak Up surveys is that Austinites are in favor of adding more space for burying cremains. For more information on green cremation and where cremains can be buried in the Austin area you can text, email or call Green Cremation Texas. Our experts can answer your questions and provide additional information.