Special Emblems Used on Memorial Headstones

When visiting a cemetery or a graveyard, you can notice different types of headstones. When examined properly you can also notice that there are different types of symbols and emblems used on headstones. Each of the symbols and emblems used on headstones has different meanings and understandings. Well, many of us are not even aware of the meaning of the symbols used on gravestones.

But it is very essential to have some understanding about the symbols and emblems as they can give information regarding the rituals and customs practiced during a particular time or by the memers of a particular community. At the same time the symbol that was commonly used in one area might mean something completely different in another area. So, when choosing a headstone, people must give stress on the headstone symbols and emblems.

Here is a list of some of the common emblems used on headstones and their meaning.

Anchor – It is symbol of hope and steadfastness. An anchor with a broken chain means cessation of life. This type of emblem is often used on headstone of a deceased who was a seaman.

Angels –It means the agent of God and guardians of the dead. It basically symbolizes spirituality.

Arch – It symbolizes an entry into Heaven or victory over death. It also means re-union with partner in Heaven.

Bird – A bird when used as a headstone emblem represents the soul. It also symbolizes eternal life, spirituality, messenger of God or peace.

Books – It is a symbol of the Divine Word or the deceased’s lifetime accomplishments.

Butterfly – It is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ.

Cherub – It represents divine wisdom or justice. When a sleeping cherub is used as an emblem on the headstone it symbolizes innocence and this is why it is mostly used on an infant’s or a child’s headstone.

Column – It symbolizes the noble life lived by the deceased. When the column is used in a broken or draped format it symbolizes early death along with mourning and grief.

Conch shell – It represents resurrection, life everlasting, the pilgrimage of one’s life, and baptism of one’s soul.

Cross –It is a symbol of faith and resurrection.  When used on the graveyards of military persons it means trials, victory and reward.

Crown – It is a symbol of reward and glory of life after death. 

Candle –It stands for the spirit or the soul. It even symbolizes Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

Chain –It stands for Friendship, Love, and Truth.

Dove – It represents purity, love and Holy Spirit. It is basically a symbol of peace.

Daisy – It highlights the innocence of child, youth, gentleness, purity of thought.

Drapery –It symbolizes mourning and or mortality.

Eagle –It symbolizes that the deceased was a member of the military.

Female Figure -It is usually a symbol of sorrow and grief.

Finger –It symbolizes the pathway to Heaven or the deceased found Heavenly reward.

Garland –It indicated victory over death.

Gourds –It symbolizes the deliverance from grief.

Heart –It stands for the affection, love and devotion of the living for the dead. Two joined hearts on a stone mark a happy marriage.

Hourglass – It is a symbol of the swift passage of time, as in the shortness of life on earth.

Ivy – It represents faithfulness, memory and undying affection.

Lamb – This emblem means innocence. It is generally used on an infant’s or a child’s headstone.

Laurel – It symbolizes triumph over death or ever green the memory of the deceased.

Lily –It is a symbol of chastity, innocence, purity and resurrection

Lion – It symbolizes the power of God and guards the tomb against evil spirits.

Moon –It is a symbol of death, rebirth, or victory.

Myrtle Leaves –It is a symbol of undying love and peace.

Oak – It is a symbol of faith and virtue and endurance. The oak leaves and acorn stand for power, authority or victory.

Olive branch –It is a symbol of peace, forgiveness, and one’s humanity.

Palm – It highlights spiritual victory, success and eternal peace. It also means Christ’s victory of death as associated with Easter.

Poppy – It is a symbol that stands for eternal sleep.

Pyramid – It is a symbol that means resurrection, eternal life, enlightenment and spiritual attainment.

Rooster – It means awakening, courage and vigilance.

Rainbow – It is a symbol of union, fulfillment of the promise of resurrection.

Rose – It is a symbol of love, hope, unfailing love, victory, triumph and purity.

Star –It is a symbol of Divine guidance. A 5-pointed star represents the Star of Bethlehem, whereas a 6-pointed star represents creation or the God.

Scroll –It is a symbol of life and time. It cans also mean honor and commemoration.

Skeleton – It is a kind of symbol used to designate death and life’s brevity on earth. 

Swallow – It represents motherhood, the spirit of children, or a symbol of consolation.

Sword –A sword in general symbolizes the deceased’s military service. A broken sword means life cut short, whereas crossed swords indicate a life lost in battle.

Shattered urn – It is a symbol of old age along with soul, immortality or penitence.

Sun – Different forms of sun have different meaning. A rising sun is a symbol of renewed life or resurrection. A setting sun is a symbol of death, while a shining sun is a symbol of everlasting life.

Tree trunk – It represents the beauty of one’s life. A leading tree symbolizes a short life interrupted; a symbol of mourning.

Triangle – An emblem in the shape of a triangle means truth, equality and the holy trinity.

Violet –It is a symbol of humility.

Wheat –It is a symbol that means the body of Christ.

Wheel –It symbolizes the cycle of life, enlightenment, spiritual power.

Wreath of roses – It is a symbol of heavenly joy and bliss

Weeping willow – It is a symbol of mourning, grief, sorrow, lamentation.

Next time when you need to buy a headstone, try to choose one with an emblem or a symbol that holds a special meaning. This will help to give a special tribute to the life of the deceased.


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One Response

  1. enid ebrahim
    enid ebrahim at | | Reply

    Thank you, this was very helpful…

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