Headstone symbols have been used for centuries. People erect headstones to commemorate
the dead and use symbols to communicate something special about their departed loved one.
Many people choose symbols based on the theme of the headstone design or just because they like the way the symbol
looks. Knowledge of what a symbol means will enhance your appreciation of it as well as help you say what you really want
to say about the person in the limited space available on a headstone.
the memorial service and cemetery burial you should take time to reflect upon the significance of your loved one and the life
they lived. Before committing to a particular design, you should consider the following aspects of headstone design.
Headstone symbols may play a significant part in your monument design. These symbols add a
special and sometimes overlooked meaning to your headstone. As you walk through a cemetery, you are liable to see the same
symbol again and again. Do you know what these symbols represent?
is a lot of information about symbols found in this article called Cemetery Art and Symbolism.
Another site that has a very nice
collection of memorial symbols, strangely enough, is the vintageviews.org site. This site is partly based on someone's
For those who have been in the military, an interesting
set of military headstone symbols can be found on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs site. It's called
the "Available Emblems of Belief for Placement on Government Headstones and Markers".
Among the most popular symbols used in the greater Philadelphia area are crosses, flowers, and hearts. Two of most
popular flowers for headstones are lilies and roses. A lily on a headstone can signify innocence and purity; a rose may signify
romance or passion.
While reviewing the symbols below, be aware that the
meanings can change over time and their meanings often depends upon the area in which they are located. You will find a few
of the more common headstone symbols below.
- Butterfly - the freeing of the spirit
- Dog - loyalty
- Frog - worldly pleasures
- Lamb - purity and innocence
- Lion - the power of God
- Fish - faith
- Arms outstretched - mercy
- Clasped hands - farewell
- Hand pointing up - pathway to heaven
- Hand pointing down - mortality
- Hand holding
heart - charity
- Heart - love
- Bird in flight - the flight of
- Dove - the Holy Spirit in the Christian Religion
- Eagle - courage or a military career
- Rooster - awakening
- Cedar tree - consecration
- Cypress tree - morning
- Heart encircled
with thorns - suffering of Christ
- Olive tree - peace
- Palm: victory or Christ's victory over death
- Angel blowing a trumpet - resurrection
- Daisy - Innocence, youth, hope
- Forget-me-not - remberance
- Lily - Easter, purity, innocence,
heavenly bliss, the Blessed Virgin
- Morning Glory - Bonds of love and affection
- Rose - Love, wisdom, beauty
- Sunflower -
- Voilet - Faithfulness, modesty
- Weeping Willow - Mortality, mourning
- Arch - victory in life or death
- Anchor - hope, a disguised Christian cross
- Cross - Christianity
- Crown - reward or glory in the afterlife
- Cradle - childhood loss
- Sunflower - Adoration
- Scales - judgment of the dead
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