As a follow-up to "Graveyard Etiquette," EllaEnchanted gave me a great inspiration--offerings on graves. I remember back East, the cemeteries were pretty standard and the offerings just flowers mostly. Out here in the West, there is a completely different culture influenced by a few things; Hispanic/Catholic customs and the very dreary elements of western cemeteries that are often in the desert and without grass/trees/shade, that makes folks just want to spruce things up.
The first photo depicts a grave at the Yuma Cemetery. This is in the Hispanic section of the graveyard where the graves are so elaborate that people appear to try to outbeat the neighbors. People leave slices of cakes for children on their birthdays, toys, more flowers than can be imagined, candles, lots of images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, cherubs and angels, garlands of flowers, rosary beads, seashells, apache tears, goblets, even lawn chairs for visiting. Any interests the beloved losed one had will be portrayed through figurines and toys. One Air Force pilot had a model plane on his grave. Inside the box in the photo above, there were dolphins, lighthouses, photos, candles, figurines.
The other photo shows a grave in Sedona, Arizona that was for a young woman. On her 21st birthday, the family left her a card and an open bottle of champagne and a glass. There were angels set all around her and cherubs to protect her. You can just imagine the family sitting around having some of the champagne and leaving her a glass. It's not only poignant, but unbelievably anguishing.
I've seen people put solar lights around a grave, making it glow eerily blue at night. I've seen more windchimes and whirlygigs than can be imagined. One time, I found someone had laid down a folded blanket beside the grave and a pillow beside the head of the grave and a stuffed animal. I realized that this parent might have slept beside their "sleeping" child with the beloved stuffed animal. It was the most beautiful and heartbreaking thing imagineable.
Makes you wonder what they'd leave on your grave.
Personally, I'll take the champagne, but pour it directly over the grave and stand back because when I drink champagne, I always want to dance.