Decoration Saturday: Picnic & Tour at Resthaven
Up until the early 20th century, cemeteries were a popular place to relax, picnic and get together near a loved one’s grave. Towns had beautiful Victorian cemeteries with landscaped grounds, family mausoleums and towering monuments carved into angels, obelisks and other types of statuary.
Children played among the graves, and families got together for birthdays and other holidays, including the deceased family member in the festivities.
Here is an excerpt from Appalachian Magazine dated April 29, 2018, describing this tradition:
Forgotten Tradition: Picnicking in a Graveyard, Decoration Day
…“The day would also be filled with history lessons from Granny who would walk through the graveyard with an almost glimmer in her eye.
“This is my brother’s grave, he fought in the Great War.”
“This is where my cousin is buried, she had a little mean dog that would always bite me… I wish I could remember that dog’s name.”
Flowers would be solemnly placed onto tombstones by loved ones and by the end of the afternoon, every grave would have some type of decoration.
Then came my favorite part of what we called “Decoration Sunday”… a picnic in the cemetery.
It may seem like a ghastly thing to someone from this generation, the sight of families laying out blankets alongside the headstone of a passed loved one and feasting upon fried chicken, but for us, it was a tradition. A classic American mountain tradition that would culminate with a game of hide-n-seek or tag in a freshly decorated Appalachian graveyard.
We did not run from death as so many these days seem to do, nor did we attempt to amuse ourselves with devices that removed the thought of our own demise to the back-burner of our consciousness”
Bring your own picnic, and join the @Washington Historical Museum and the @Washington-Wilkes Historical Foundation for the first annual
“Decoration Saturday”: Picnic and Tour at Resthaven
Patricia Miller, Head Registrar, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia will head the tour of Resthaven Cemetery.