What Are Grave Blankets For?

by Lilly Taylor

There are many reasons why people choose to place blankets over the graves of friends and loved ones. Often these evergreen arrangements are hand made and provide a reason for family members to gather to construct them. However, commercially made grave blankets are also available in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. They create a graveside focal point and an encouragement to reminisce and remember.

Typical Materials

Grave blankets are prevalent in colder regions where traditional floral arrangements would not stand up to cold temperatures and snow. They are commonly made of a variety of evergreen boughs. Most also have colorful, seasonal decorations such as ribbons, ornaments or pine cones added to make them more attractive. The branches are frequently attached to a floral foam, thin wood or wire base, which can be attached to the ground to keep the grave blanket from blowing away.

Image of Warmth

As the name implies, the grave blanket covers the ground at the base of the grave and symbolizes the caring and warmth that friends and family feel toward the deceased person. Popular accent colors include warm fall earth tones, and bright red and gold Christmas hues. Grave blankets provide an opportunity for the surviving friends and family to create a physical expression of their emotions.

Somber Settings Improved

Many families use grave blankets to alleviate the somber mood of the cemetery where their loved one is buried. The cheerful ribbons and seasonal decorations add a bit of color and interest to the grave site, and are visible proof that the deceased was loved and has not been forgotten.

Evolving Traditions

The tradition of placing grave blankets has been around for many years. Most original grave blankets were used throughout the Christmas season and made use of seasonal evergreens. In more recent times, the tradition has expanded, and grave blankets are becoming more popular to commemorate various occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates relevant to the life of the deceased. The materials used to construct grave blankets have also broadened to include many types of plant material, dried flowers and small objects of sentimental value.

Special Considerations

Some cemeteries have rules regarding what types of items may be placed on graves and how long they may be left in place. Grave blankets must be sized in a way that they do not encroach on any adjacent grave sites. Some cemetery facilities require that grave blankets be anchored in place to keep them from blowing into other areas. Families may also wish to consider watering a grave blanket in dry areas to keep it fresh and green longer.

Photo Credits

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