Guadeloupe: Pointe Noire Cemetery

The citizens of the French island Guadeloupe utilize a unique cemetery style, strikingly different from that of North Americans. The historic Point-Noire cemetery, located on the west coast of the island, is full of mausoleums, vibrant colors, patterns and symbols. Many monuments incorporate shades of orange, amber, gold, blue, black and white. Each color has a symbolic meaning: black and white represent mourning; amber, the glory of god; orange, the fire of god; blue, the holy spirit and authority; and gold, divinity and holiness. A variety of crosses decorate numerous tombs found within the Point-Noire cemetery. These symbols express salvation and are also common in other countries. For centuries, mausoleums have been the preferred method to bury the deceased. In the past, Europe faced the problem of overcrowded cemeteries; using mausoleums instead of traditional underground burials reduced the amount of land required.