on this day when in ancient Rome it was thought ghosts might walk the earth, it seemed fitting to read an article I had printed, but never read, on the burial customs of the Romans.Have you ever wondered why lawns in cemeteries are so carefully manicured -- let alone why the graves are decorated with living flowers? In this season preceding Halloween, and especially
Heller ["Burial Customs of the Romans," by John L. Heller; The Classical Weekly (1932), pp.193-197] writes:
"Since the soul of the deceased was thought to need provisions for various wants in post mortem existence, the ground about the tomb was often laid out as a garden, where the spirit might wander and enjoy itself in its own bit of the Elysian Fields. This custom, of course, survives to-day in the decoration of tombs with flowers, although now we think of the flowers merely as decorations fitting to our sense of piety and our memory of the dead."