If you pay a visit to a western cemetery, the first thing that you will notice is that all the tombstones are aligned very well and they are almost following a pattern. Well, the pattern actually goes beyond just following a line. This is not just for aesthetics purposes but all tombstones are positioned to face the east direction.
Here are some information about it:
- Ancient civilizations have always believed that a dead body must be buried in a fashion that it will be facing the direction where the sun is rising which is the east. Other beliefs have also followed this practice throughout the years.
- As the traditions have evolved, not many people are still practicing this today. This all started with the Judeo- Christians. These people have this belief that Jesus will come back in the same direction as where the sun rises. And when He does, the departed will be facing the direction where Jesus is. So in theory, it is not just the tombstone that is facing the east but the caskets as well.
- In relation to this, you will also be able to observe that many Christian churches have entrances that are facing the west. This way, the people can face the east when they are looking at the altar.
- People are not just making this tradition up. There are actually scriptures and readings taken from the bible that will show that this practice has been used for millions of years. The bible specifically indicates that the son of man who is Jesus will come from the east. With this reason alone, the people made sure that their late loved ones will be prepared for the coming of Jesus.
- What is unique in this tradition is that the clergymen are buried facing the west. The reason for this is that by the time that the final judgment will begin and Jesus will come back, the people will be facing the east while the clergy are facing the Christians so that they can lead them to the right path.
Today, not all Christian cemeteries follow this east-facing tradition. But traditions like playing of songs and offering funeral flowers still live on.