Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beer Bottle Grave

On Saturday, I visited Pleasant Shade Cemetery in Hampton, VA. This is one of the interesting graves I saw. Who left the beer bottles, I wonder? Was this a random act by some beer guzzlers or was this from the friends of Rashed?

On Sunday, I visited the cemetery again to get a better picture of the grave marker. I only moved the bottles that covered the writing on the grave marker of this young man. Still, even with the bottles repositioned, this makes an interesting photo of a grave marker decorated with beer bottles and gold praying hands.

In an attempt to understand the reason for this beer bottle grave, I shared this photo with some family members and genealogy friends on MyFamily.com. One family member believed that this was some type of ritual; a genealogy friend enlightened me about this ritual with the comments below.

"I have seen this also, especially for certain "club" motorcycle riders. Some
have had one beer bottle at the gravesite, which I believe to be the deceased's
favorite beer. One like this with several bottles makes me believe a group of
friends came and partied with him. Especially since one of the bottles is still
capped, that would be Rashed's beer. I would assume (bad thing to do I know)
that at one time these bottles were all standing up on the headstone."

On Sunday, August 9th, I looked at the date of death more closely and noticed that this was the 6th anniversary of Rashed's death. I found this bottle arrangement on Saturday, the 8th. Therefore, I assume that Rashed's friends may have partied at their friend's grave, possibly on Friday night to commemorate his death and life.

For me, this is certainly an interesting alternative to just decorating a grave with flowers.

R.I.P. Rashed!


Marian said...

Another thing to notice is that he died at age 21. He may have died just before or just after his 21st birthday. I can't a day or month listed on the stone. His friends may be celebrating this rite of passage for him every year.

dustbunny8 said...

We all grieve and remember in different ways.Thank you for sharing what you learned here,I enjoy learning about others customs.

Professor Dru said...


He died 21 days (August 9) before his 21st birthday.(August 30)

Professor Dru said...


It certainly is interesting learning about another custom of honoring the dead.

my Heritage Happens said...

Dru, it would be interesting to check out the grave site next year. Very interesting, especially to hear what everyone has to say regarding this picture!

Greta Koehl said...

This may not be the case for this grave, but apparently it is not uncommon for friends and family to celebrate the 21st birthday this way for children who died before they reached that birthday (as Marianpl noted).