Can one whistle, camp or kiss one’s boyfriend in a cemetery? This first week of summer we are talking a walk in the gardens of the dead. We are sore from the winter and overthrown by sunlight and bright nights and nightingales in the hedges, and the summer songs of the Folk High School Songbook are so melancholy that you might as well could have “memento mori” tattooed onto your neck. Here are four of the city’s cemeteries, that are also well suited for reflective days of June. With love, Mira & Pil Pil Lindgreen

Wed 3
6/1/2020 12:00:00 AM 6/7/2020 40 Forest cemetery Memento mori between Kohaveskovens ash, oak and maple Landkildevej 2, 5220 Odense SØ Odense Kommune/Døden false DD-MM-YYYY

Forest cemetery Memento mori between Kohaveskovens ash, oak and maple


Forest cemetery
Other | Kl. 00:00 | Landkildevej 2, 5220 Odense SØ | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Pil Lindgreen | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Location: Kohaveskoven
Organizer: Odense Kommune/Døden

Kohaveskoven forest southeast of Odense consists of an old forest, new forest, cows in flower meadows and burial sites on the forest floor. Or - not really burial sites as you might know them. No crosses; no gravestones; nor any flowers or candles. Not a single name scratched into any surface. In fact, there is not the slightest indicator of death to be seen, except for discreet signage along the path, which confusingly resembles the Danish Nature Agency’s plant signs, which tells you that you can put an urn in the ground here and also points out that it is unconsecrated ground.

Unconsecrated ground means that there is no servant of God (regardless of faith) who has blessed the soil that covers the urns. Perhaps because in Denmark there is a tradition of Protestant folk churches that run cemeteries with space for both non-believers and pagans (read about the other graveyards in this week's recommendation), burial places that mix religion around farewell rituals and afterlife are a fairly new phenomenon. Only in 2008, it became legal to establish burial places in nature, and the Kohaveskoven was Denmark's first of its kind when it opened in 2014. Since then the forest burials have appeared all over the country - just see the list here https://skovbegravelse.nu/skovoversigt/. And unlike other urn graves, there are no markings of the individual grave. Here the dead are nameless and become compost of the ecosystem under the roots of the forest, while the cattle graze on neighboring meadows and the light falls through the foliage.

Still, there are small signs in the forest that could act as pointers to someone who comes to visit their loved one. A broken branch slopes between two others; a twining plant has taken over a stump in a sculptural way. Track down a bonfire between two fallen trees. Or maybe I am just reading into the signs on my Sunday bike ride through the Kohaveskoven on one of the first hectic ice-cream days, where the town center is tumbling full of people excited to be alive and showing each other that they are. It is hard to imagine something that is at the same time as solemn and as straightforward as having a living tree as its memorial.

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Wed 3
6/1/2020 12:00:00 AM 6/7/2020 40 The Jewish Cemetery Through the gate in a curved wall lies one of the secret gardens of the dead Heden 5, Odense C Døden/Dig selv false DD-MM-YYYY

The Jewish Cemetery Through the gate in a curved wall lies one of the secret gardens of the dead


The Jewish Cemetery
Other | Kl. 00:00 | Heden 5, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | Written by: Pil Lindgreen

Location: Assistenskirkegården
Organizer: Døden/Dig selv

The smallest cemetery in the city consists of thirty stones behind a wall and a cast iron gate. They are facing to the east, towards Jerusalem. During a short period the Jewish population grew large enough to have its own synagogue at Overgade 28 and then decreased to almost nothing like in the other Danish provincial towns at the of the 19th century. Diagonally opposite the main entrance to Assistens cemetery and Vandværksvej lies the only testimony of a centurys Jewish citizens of Odense.

No one has been buried here since 1968 and if you lean long enough on one of the sunburned walls inside and look out on the road, you’ll notice that no passing cyclists, runners or dog walkers raise their eyes and look into the secret garden. The place has somehow vanished from time and from the city.

However, it is not wholly forgotten. Even here, as in every mosaic graveyard the world over, there are tell-tale signs that a visitor has dropped by which still keeps the memory alive. This tradition has several meanings; you leave pebbles to help the dead stay where they are – the weight of the stones are literally holding the dead souls down, so they are not haunting the living or roaming around restlessly. But with a stone you are also leaving an enduring testimony by the grave. If flowers remind us that life is transient (life is short, we are flourishing now, but withering soon), then the small stones are an image of the unchanging nature of nature of memory. A stone is little discreet piece of eternity.

According to Jewish custom the burial ground belongs to the dead “in eternity” and can therefore not be dismantled. The price per square meters could have the dollar signs dancing in the eyes of every real estate agent speculant though. On each side lies the villas of Gerthamindesvej with stepped gables and timbered houses and the good life on the terraces. It suits a neighborhood to have a little pocketful of death like this.

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Wed 3
6/1/2020 12:00:00 AM 6/7/2020 40 Heden 5, Odense C false DD-MM-YYYY


Other | Kl. 00:00 | Heden 5, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | This week’s guest recommendation is wirtten by: Mira Erik


Wed 3
6/1/2020 12:00:00 AM 6/7/2020 40 The pagan burial ground Let the Thor & Odin rule. Visit the old Nordic religion's burial ground. Heden 5, Odense C false DD-MM-YYYY

The pagan burial ground Let the Thor & Odin rule. Visit the old Nordic religion's burial ground.


The pagan burial ground
Other | Kl. 00:00 | Heden 5, Odense C | Price: 0 Kr. | This week’s guest recommendation is wirtten by: Mira Erik | Translated by: Laura Malahovska

Location: Assistenskirkegården
Organizer:

It is quite spectacular: you can visit Odense’s, Denmark’s, Scandinavia’s, and perhaps the only one in the whole world, an official pagan burial ground where worshipers of the old Nordic religion (Asatro) can be buried or bury their loved ones. That has not been the case for over 1000 years - since the Vikings themselves were the ones dying. But when the old Nordic religion community was recently approved by the state as a religious community, it meant "that men and women once again tied the thread to the Powers of the old custom," as it says on a stone in the corner of the graveyard. This burial ground is the only public monument the modern believers in the old Nordic religion have.

It has its own symbolism and rebellious poetry that this religion, which was suppressed and eradicated by Christianity, has today re-emerged and manifested on Christian consecrated land.

Go all the way to the back of the large Assistenskirkegård. You will recognize it by its 18-meter long ship outline; large stones arranged in the form of a ship. Next to it are curved, carved stones, where round memorial plates can be - and have been - placed, several of them with inscriptions in runic alphabets:

"Fæ dør. Frænde dør. Også du skal dø. Eftermælet aldrig dør når det vel er vundet."

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