How Different Cultures Honor the Deceased

casket with flowers on top

It is always interesting to learn about the differences between cultures and one of the most interesting differences among cultures is the way they honor the deceased. What may seem crazy to one culture is totally normal to another culture and vice versa. Here are three of the more interesting ways to honor the dead from various countries and cultures around the world.

China & The Philippines

In China and The Philippines, some people honor their loved ones who have passed by hanging their coffins on a mountainside. They believe that the closer the coffin is the to sky, the closer their loved ones are to heaven.

South Korea

South Korea has limited space for burials, so they had to get imaginative with the way they honored their loved ones. They have adopted the practice of cremating the bodies of the dead and pressing their ashes into jewelry-like beads. These beads are usually colorful and kept in a bottle or urn.

New Orleans, Louisiana

In New Orleans, they honor their loved ones by playing somber jazz music from the funeral home to the place of burial. After they have buried their loved one, they play more up-beat jazz music to celebrate the life of their loved one who has passed on.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

Source: Everplans

What to Consider When Choosing a Cemetery

louis cicalese cemetery landscape

Choosing a cemetery can feel daunting and overwhelming, however, when you know what characteristics to consider, it can make the decision process a little easier. If you have already discussed burial wishes with your loved ones prior to passing, then the decision will be less difficult. If you have not, here’s a list of attributes to think about when making your final decision.


You or your loved ones may have a specific or general location in mind to be buried. Many people want to be buried close to home, or maybe in a location that some of their family has been laid to rest in. If there are multiple cemetery options for your situation, you may want to consider taking a trip to each one to view the grounds. You should think about which one feels right and which one you would feel good about visiting your loved ones in.

Type of Cemetery

There are four main types of cemeteries: public, religious, district or municipal, and national or veterans’ cemeteries. Each type of cemetery meets different specific needs.

  1. Public Cemeteries

Public cemeteries are the most common type of cemetery. They are usually for-profit and run corporately or independently. These can be found through word of mouth, local funeral homes, or through online search.

  1. Religious Cemeteries

These cemeteries are usually non-profit and run by religious organizations. If you are interested in a religious cemetery, contact your local church, synagogue, or mosque to find a location that’s right for you.

  1. District or Municipal Cemeteries

These are non-profit cemeteries owned by the city or county. You can find these types of cemeteries by contacting your town clerk or city hall.

  1. National or Veterans’ Cemeteries

These types of cemeteries are government-run and created for veterans and their families. If you are interested in a location like this, your local funeral home may be able to help you make those arrangements.


It is important to consider all present and future costs of a cemetery location before choosing one. Make sure you ask for a price list that includes all present and future costs.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

What is a Green Burial?

louis cicalese cemetery land

With the current state that our planet is in, it is important to think about sustainability and our environmental impact in everything we do in life. However, it is also important to think about our environmental impact on our planet even after we pass away. With environmental consciousness becoming more and more common, people are starting to consider alternate burial options, such as green burials, instead of traditional types of burials.

Green Burial Details

With a green burial, the body does not require any chemicals, such as embalming fluids, and it is placed in a biodegradable coffin or shroud without a concrete burial vault. Burying the body in this way allows for complete decomposition and the natural return to soil.

The Benefits of a Green Burial

  1. Simplicity

Green burials that use a biodegradable coffin or shroud are very simple compared to traditional burials that require a large, heavy coffin. Those who like to keep things simple would prefer a green burial over a more traditional coffin.

  1. Less Expensive

The costs of embalming, caskets, and concrete vaults are not required for a green burial meaning that those costs are eliminated. Without these costs, families can save thousands of dollars.

  1. Preserving Natural Resources

Green burials use fewer natural resources than a traditional burial. Traditional burials require a large amount of hardwood, steel, copper, and concrete which very little, if any, is required for a green burial.

  1. Removes Harmful Chemicals

Embalming fluids contain formaldehyde which is a respiratory irritant and carcinogen. With green burials, this harmful chemical is eliminated from the burial process.

  1. Saving Natural Areas

Green cemeteries can help save natural habitats and do not require the elimination of trees.

All our cemetery locations provide the option of green burials. If you are interested in learning more about the burial services offered at Louis Cicalese cemeteries, you can contact us to learn more.

The History of Cremations

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The Beginning

Historians estimate that cremations have been around since the Stone Age around 3000 B.C. and was presented to Westerners by the Greeks. In ancient history, cremation was seen as an honorable way to go after battle, but it went through ups and downs in popularity. For example, cremation became frowned upon by the Catholic church due to the concept of resurrection after death but was again accepted after Pope Paul VI lifted the ban in 1963.

Cremations Now

Cremation remains a popular choice upon death for a variety of reasons. Cremation offers more flexibility in space, price, and even mobility. Being cremated into ashes gives families an opportunity to easily personalize their loved ones final resting place by holding the ashes in multiple places or customizing an urn. Many individuals have wishes to be spread across mountains, be planted as trees, or even made into a diamond, which to some sounds more appealing than being buried. However, burial options are still available for those cremated individuals who wish to be buried with other loved ones.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

Reasons to Visit a Cemetery

louis cicalese cemetery

Although visiting a cemetery when you’re not required to may seem like a grave idea, there is more to gain for those who decide to visit on their own time.

Learning About History

At burial grounds, there are plenty of passed individuals with complex stories just like ours. Taking note of the names you pass and researching history about them at your local library can be one of the best ways to learn about previous generations and connect to the town you currently live in or are visiting.

Quiet Reflection

Many of those who visit cemeteries say they find their time there very peaceful. With plenty of greenery and statues, cemeteries are ideal for quiet reflection. For many, it is a humbling experience that gives them opportunity to realize that time on Earth isn’t forever and helps them prioritize what really matters.

Pay Your Respects

At the heart, cemeteries are places to honor those that have passed. Visiting relatives can help you feel closer to them and is often an important part of the grieving process. Whether or not you have or had loved ones in the service, consider observing military graves. Observing those who laid their life down for their country is one way to show appreciation and gratitude.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

The Cost Benefits of Mausoleums vs. In-Ground Burials

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Finding the proper ceremony and type of burial can feel overwhelming, especially when you are feeling the grief of losing a loved one. There are many things to consider when deciding what is best for your loved one and each person comes with a unique set of needs. Mausoleums and in-ground burials are two options for your family, and they both come with different characteristics.

Which One is Right for You?

There are many things to consider with in-ground burials. Graves, burial vaults, cement foundations, headstones, and monuments all vary in options and costs. The expense of burial vaults and cement foundations should not be overlooked because they protect the caskets and the ground from shifting. All of these expenses and decisions can become overwhelming, which has led many families to choose mausoleums. Mausoleums are not just for the wealthy, in fact, the biggest benefit of mausoleums is that it can be simpler and less-expensive than an in-ground burial overall. With mausoleums, there is no need to purchase a vault, a cement foundation, or a headstone because that is all included.

Ultimately, it is up to your family to decide what is best for you and your loved one. There are many things to consider, but we are here to help guide you in the direction that is best for you.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

Well-Known People Buried at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey

Walt Whitman

Harleigh Cemetery is a magnificent historic cemetery and crematory located in Collingswood and Camden, New Jersey.  Established in 1885 and set on over 150 acres with rolling hills, lakes, and thousands of trees, it is the final resting place for hundreds of venerated individuals. Here are a few graves to visit to pay your respects.

Walt Whitman

Poet and author of acclaimed “Leaves of Grass”, Walt Whitman took great care in designing his final resting place and is visited by many each year. Whitman is remembered for his contributions to literature as the father of free verse and as a transcendentalist.

Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman’s grave at Harleigh Cemetery

George C. Burling

As a Union Army officer in the Civil War, George C. Burling was instrumental in the Battle of Gettysburg. He organized several militias and his contributions to the army are longlasting. Burling is buried among several other Civil War heroes.

Charlie Rice

American Jazz drummer Charlie Rice played among Jazz’s most prominent stars, including John Coltrane, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Chet Baker. Rice was born in Philadelphia at a time when Jazz was spreading like wildfire across the country. He died at the age of 98 in 2018.

Ella Reeve Bloor

Also known as “Mother Bloor”, she was a rebellious political organizer born in 1862. She was instrumental in the women’s suffrage movement and was a prolific essayist in the socialist, labor, and communist movements.

Nick Virgilio

The reason many Americans know the poetry form, Haiku, is likely to Nick Virgilio’s credit. Virgilio popularized the Japanese poetry style throughout the twentieth century and was often featured on radio shows. His famous poem “Lily” is engraved on his headstone. Learn more about Nick Virgilio.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.

Four Ways to Honor Veterans on Memorial Day

old veteran standing behind american flag at memorial day ceremony

Each May, we take time to reflect on what it means to be an American, especially the sacrifices that enable us to live in the land of the free. The heroic soldiers that have given their lives for the United States of America are not forgotten, and Memorial Day is a testament to the honor these soldiers rightfully deserve. Here are five ways to observe Memorial Day by honoring veterans.

  1. Attend Camden County Veterans Cemetery memorial service at Harleigh Cemetery

Each year, the Veterans Cemetery at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, New Jersey holds a memorial service honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Veterans are given medals in reverence for their service. Attending this event or another near you shows your support for the men and women who have died in defending freedom.

  1. Reach out to veterans you know to thank them for their service

While some veterans prefer not to discuss their time in the military for their own personal reasons, reaching out to veterans you know to say a simple thank you says a lot. To civilians, it’s hard to understand the true sacrifice made fighting for America, and acknowledging that sacrifice on Memorial Day is an act of kindness that can go a long way.

  1. Share veterans’ stories on social media

Many of us have family members who have died at war. Sharing their stories on social media, or simply hitting that share button on another’s story reminds us all what it really means to serve. By telling their stories, we keep their memory alive.

  1. Donate to a veteran’s charity

Many veterans rely on organizations to help them make ends meet, especially when the effects of war have marred them physically or psychologically. Here are a few charities that benefit veterans:

  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Semper Fi Fund
  • Fisher House Foundation

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.