Face masks mandatory in West Flemish cemeteries at the end of October
Tuesday, 06 October 2020
Anyone looking to visit a cemetery in West Flanders between 24 October to 8 November will be required to wear a face mask, according to the latest announcement from Governor Carl Decaluwé.
This new measure will be put into place because several cemeteries can get very crowded on the days surrounding the celebration of All Saints’ Day (1 November). The holiday – which follows All Saints’ Eve on 31 October – is celebrated across the world in countries of the Christian tradition.
According to the belief that those who have gone to Heaven continue to be strongly bound to those who remain on Earth, on All Saints’ Day, devotees celebrate all known saint figures and martyrs but also unknown figures, such as faithful devotees or loved ones who have passed but who led others to a life of faith.
To mark the day, observers attend church and visit cemeteries to lay flowers and candles on the graves of their deceased loved ones. In Belgium, the tradition is to decorate loved ones’ graves with chrysanthemums. It is then followed by All Hallows Day or the Feast of All Saints.
“In some cemeteries, hundreds of people congregate during this period. Not everywhere, but I think it would be a lot more transparent and clearer to make the face mask compulsory in all cemeteries,” said Decaluwé.
“It also remains compulsory – everywhere in West Flanders – to have a face mask in your pocket,” he added.