Few flowers will find their way to Mt. Nebo Cemetery this Memorial Day.
That’s because the cemetery primarily serves the area’s Jewish population, and graveside flowers are not a part of Jewish tradition, said Mick Soss, co-chairman of the Temple Beth Shalom cemetery committee. The temple owns and manages Mt. Nebo.
Instead, families and friends place small stones on the monuments. Polished or plain, bought or found, these stones are simple, meaningful acts of remembrance.
This tradition, Soss explained, allows prayer and remembrance to remain the ultimate purpose of visiting a grave.
This Memorial Day, scores of flags will cover cemeteries all over Spokane. So will pinwheels, flowers and other graveside decorations, most of which require more work to clean up than a simple collection of stones.
For Holy Cross, Queen of Peace, and St. Joseph Funeral and Cemetery Services – facilities managed by the Catholic Diocese of Spokane – graveside decorations will be removed by June 5 for regular maintenance and grounds work.
Not all decorations are allowed. Prohibited items include adhesive stickers, anything that might shatter and large objects that infringe on other graves, according to information provided by a diocese receptionist.
Pinwheels, flags and flowers make the cut. Artificial flowers may be used for Memorial Day, but only real flowers are permitted after June 5.
At Fairmont Memorial Park, Greenwood Memorial Terrace, Riverside Memorial Park, Spokane-Cheney Memorial Gardens, Woodlawn Cemetery, Pines Cemetery, and South Pines Cemetery – all of which are managed by Fairmount Memorial Association – decorations will be removed one week after Memorial Day.
Visitors are allowed to leave pictures and valuable objects, according to the association’s rules and regulations, but it is not advised.
According to their Floral and Decoration Guidelines, fresh flowers are the only decorations that can be left at crypts and niches. Adhesives, including taped pictures and stickers, can’t be left on gravesides and glass vases are prohibited everywhere.
These guidelines are all in place to preserve the condition of the cemeteries.
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