Visiting and Tending the Graves with a Special Reference to the Case-Study in Brežice
The author shall describe visiting and care for graves in a period of a calendar year, less also in a period of a one person’s life. She relates visiting and care for graves as minimal as possible with funerals and traditionally claimed period of mourning. She suppose that the cemetery as both the social (public) and the private place is incorporated in the everyday way of life of the majority. The author tried to find out which acts, expectations, values, etc. were in the past and are still today connected with visiting and care for graves. She chose a specific group of interlocutors.In her work the author used many methods, because she tried to define an ethnologist’s role when dealing with cemeteries in general. But in this paper she shall only introduce the results of the micro-research among townspeople (and in the past inhabitants of the neighbouring villages) of Brežice, a small Southeast Slovenian town. Investigation covered a period from the 30’s of this century until present time and was executed with interview, observation and participation techniques.
Visiting and care for graves reveals that (living and dead) relatives function as a hierarchical system and that there also exists a division between graves. People recognise, hierarchically, the most important graves of a family as a relatives and graves of a family as a household. In this context the author was interested in determination of trustees, connections with ownership, role of testaments, influence on a relatives' memories, their meetings and quarrels among them. She tried to determine what care for grave includes and how it is perceived. She was interested in the appearance of graves and tombstones, financial part and gender division of care, tidying and decorating of graves, in remedies and also in the concepts as “a good place for a grave”, “settled cemetery” and relation to urn-graves and urn-burials. She was interested in terms and occasions of graves' visiting, who are the visitors and which values determine their behaviour. As a special occasion for visiting and care for graves I see and deal in more detail also with the Day of Remembrance of the Dead (in the past All Saints’ Day), which is a public holiday in Slovenia, and the All Souls’ Day.