5 Graveside Traditions at Famous Burial Places

©Flickr,Rennett Stowe

I remember when I visited Charles Bukowski’s grave in California, there was a bottle of beer embedded in the ground next to his gravestone. I thought that seemed appropriate seeing as how the writer was known as a hard-drinking guy who routinely got into brawls during his life.

There are a lot of graveside traditions around the world for famous folks, and here are five of the most interesting.

Have you been to any of these spots? Let us know in the comments!

1. Oscar Wilde

Photo Credit: Flickr,Niall McNulty

The Irish poet and playwright died in 1900 in Paris and is buried in the same cemetery as singer and cult icon Jim Morrison.

Wilde was originally buried in another Paris cemetery but was moved to his now final resting place in 1914. Although people can be fined for it (because of possible damage), it was tradition to kiss Wilde’s tomb – with lipstick, as you can see in the photo above – until a glass protective barrier was installed in 2011.

2. Wyatt Earp

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The legendary lawman died in 1929 and is buried in Colma, California. As a tribute to his life of fighting criminals, people often leave bullets on his grave.

3. Harry Houdini

The iconic magician and showman is buried in Queens, New York. When Houdini died in 1926, the Society of American Magicians performed a ritual known as the Broken Wand Ceremony. The ceremony is repeated every year at Houdini’s grave on the anniversary of his death.

Visitors leave all kinds of offerings to the great magician, with one of the most common being playing cards.

4. Marie Laveau

Photo Credit: Flickr, Wally Gobetz

If you ever make a trip to New Orleans, a visit to Marie Laveau’s grave is a must. The most famous Voodoo practitioner of all time, Laveau died in 1881 and her grave has become a landmark in the Big Easy.

For years, visitors would draw three Xs on her grave to gain favor from the Voodoo priestess. Laveau’s tomb was restored in 2014 and the Xs were removed. If you try to do it these days, you’ll get a hefty fine.

5. Frederick the Great

The King of Prussia wanted a simple burial in Potsdam at his summer palace when he died in 1786. Frederick requested to be buried next to his greyhounds, writing, “I have lived as a philosopher and wish to be buried as such, without circumstance, without solemn pomp or parade.”

The King didn’t get his wish, as his successor buried him in another location that he felt was more appropriate. Hitler idolized Frederick and dug up his coffin and stored it in a salt mine during World War II so it wouldn’t be destroyed.

Frederick was reburied several more times until he finally got his wish in 1991 and was buried in his desired spot. Visitors leave potatoes on his grave because Frederick was known to encourage the cultivation of the crop.