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Category: Cemeteries & Symbolism

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Daffodils Represent?

Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week Last week’s post was about the symbolic meaning of lambs, which are quite a common sight in historic cemeteries. This week, however, I wanted to talk about the symbolism of something less commonly seen on cemetery headstones: Daffodils. What do Daffodils symbolize? Just because it’s a bit rare on headstones, doesn’t mean this gorgeous blossom lacks symbolic meaning. Since they are some of the first flowers to bloom each spring, daffodils are the birth flower for those, like me, who were born in March. In fact, spring has many symbolic associations, such as new…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lambs Signify?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is the lamb. What does it symbolize when you see lambs on grave monuments? Symbolic Meaning of Lambs Since ancient times, lambs have been used in sacrificial ceremonies. So as a symbol, lambs represent innocence and sacrifice. The lamb may also be a reference to a passage in the Bible (John 1:29) where John the Baptist calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Meaning of Oak Leaves & Acorns

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Oaks – America’s National Tree Oak leaves and acorns adorn many tombstones in historic cemeteries in the USA, but even today, oak trees are appreciated and admired for their many special qualities. Not only were they voted America’s favorite tree, but in 2004, the U.S. Congress signed a bill making the Oak America’s National Tree. So what make the oak tree so special to Americans? For one thing, the oak is the most widespread hardwood tree in the USA, with…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does the DAR emblem represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week: the DAR emblem This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) emblem: Daughters of the American Revolution symbology: When you see a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) emblem on a grave, it means that the woman buried there was a member of this service organization. The only way to be accepted as a member of DAR is to have direct lineage to to an ancestor who…

10th Annual Saints & Sinners Tour in Fort Worth, Texas

Oakwood Cemetery’s Saints & Sinners Tour What do you get when you combine live theater, regional history, and a beautiful Texas graveyard? Why, the Annual Oakwood Cemetery Saints & Sinners Tour, of course! Yes, folks, the North Fort Worth Historical Society has knocked it out of the park again – and by “park,” I mean beautiful historic grounds of Oakwood Cemetery. Each year, members of the North Fort Worth Historical Society choose notable figures from Oakwood Cemetery’s residents to “bring to life” through well-researched performances spaced throughout the grounds. (To read about last year’s cast of characters, check out my photo…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The “Vein of Love” & the Meaning of Left and Right

Symbolic Meaning of Left & Right For this week’s Historic Cemetery Symbols post, we explore: The Meaning of Left and Right, and the Vein of Love! Left and Right on a Headstone Married folks often share a headstone, and when they do, most of the time you will notice that – as you stand facing the monument – the wife’s name will be on the left, and the husband’s name will be on the right. In the same vein (pun intended, but you’ll have to read the rest of this post to get it!), if you’ve ever attended a traditional Christian…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does Corn Symbolize?

Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is Corn: The Symbolic Meanings for Corn When you see an ear of corn on a headstone, you may be standing at the grave of a farmer. In fact, it was an old country custom to send sheaves of corn, instead of floral bouquets, to a farmer’s family upon his passing. There is more to the symbolic meaning of corn, however, than simply indicating a person’s occupation. In the Bible, the word “corn” is used for grains, in general, and is used symbolically to indicate spiritual…

Fort Worth, Texas Saints and Sinners Tour in Oakwood Cemetery

Graveyards as Open-Air Museums I’m deviating a little from my usual historic cemetery symbols post this week because often, when I tell people that I enjoy spending time in graveyards, they assume I must be really morbid – which is not the case at all! You see, I spend a lot of time in historic cemeteries, especially here in Texas. And to me, these country graveyards are more than just where the dead are buried; they are open-air museums. And the symbols that our ancestors chose to put on their headstones – that is how our ancestors speak to us…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Cypress Trees Mean?

Cypress Trees in Cemeteries See that tall, skinny evergreen tree on the left in the photo below? That’s a cypress tree. If you are interested in historic graveyards, then you should leaarn to be on the lookout for these! Cypress Trees: easy to ID & helpful for finding your way! Not only are historic cemetery symbols featured on headstones, certain trees have symbolic meanings, too. Even if you don’t think you are good at identifying plants, there is at least one tree that you really should become familiar with: the cypress tree. And lucky for us, it’s quite easy to…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does *this* boat mean?

Thank you, readers! If you’ve been following my series on the meaning of historic cemetery symbols, then you know each week I share a quick explanation for that week’s graveyard symbol. In the book that I’m writing, however, which is a Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, I dive much deeper into the meanings behind each symbol. I also learn a lot from the conversations that each of these posts spark – either from blog commenters here, replies on Twitter, and the emails that I’ve been getting. So, I wanted to give a hearty shout out to all the readers out…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What Weeping Willows Mean

Inspired by a Newsletter Subscriber! This week’s historic cemetery symbols post was inspired by an email from Bill Dodds, a reader who subscribes to my weekly author newsletter. Like me, Bill enjoys traipsing through historic graveyards and taking photos of interesting headstones. Bill lives in Massachusetts, and he had a question about the symbolic meaning behind Weeping Willows: “As far as i can tell it started to appear on stones in the 1820’s and had about a 50 or 60 year run before it more or less disappeared again.” What do weeping willows mean on a headstone? I’m still researching…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville, Texas

Graveyard Symbols in Fairview Cemetery, Gainesville, Texas I’m playing hooky this week! Rather than talk about one particular historic cemetery symbol, I’m going to talk about a historic graveyard that I visited last week. If you’re on my weekly newsletter, or you’ve seen me elsewhere online, you’ve probably heard me talking about how excited I was to be giving my Historic Cemetery Symbols presentation at the Santa Fe Depot in Gainesville, Texas as part of the Hill House Manor Paranormal Expo sponsored by ASAP Entertainment. The entire event was a blast and a half, and my talk went well. People…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lilies Represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does a Lily symbolize when it’s carved on a headstone? You’ve probably heard folks refer to someone as having a “lily white reputation,” right? Lilies are not only white, but they symbolize purity. That’s why being “lily white” means you are as clean and chaste as they come. In the context of a headstone, lilies may also refer to the soul’s return to a state of purity and innocence in the after life. Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism: I…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Acronym “HTWSSTKS” & Its Meaning

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does HTWSSTKS stand for on a headstone? When it comes to historic cemetery symbosl, acronyms are used as a form of shorthand. There’s only so much room on a headstone, after all. (Speaking of acronyms, in an earlier post, I explained the surprisingly upbeat meaning behind the rather dire-sounding acronym, FATAL.) HTWSSTKS is an acronym with connections to the Masonic Temple, specifically Royal Arch Masons. The letters stand for, “Hiram, Tyrian, Widow’s Son, Sent to King Solomon.” Of course, now…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Seashells Mean?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Inspired by a Pilgrimage This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbols post was inspired by Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson. I had the pleasure of interviewing him on a recent episode of Teal Gray Worldwide Radio. It was a lively interview; we discussed some deep stuff while having plenty of laughs along the way. (Check out the replay here: TGWW Radio: Rev. Dr. Raymont Anderson ) Afterwards, Raymont shared a link to a series of articles he wrote about a recent pilgrimage he took to…

Paranormal Expo: Hill House Manor in Gainesville, Texas

Unique Paranormal Event in Gainesville, Texas I’m honored and excited to be giving a talk on Historic Cemetery Symbols during a unique paracon at the end of this month. Simply called “Hill House Manor,” this event combines the fun of a paranormal expo with the thrill of ghost hunting at historic haunted sites. Fun Filled Weekend If you’ve ever been to a paranormal expo before, you know the drill. You spend the day listening to fascinating speakers share paranormal expertise. You cruise through vendor booths, mixing and mingling with like-minded souls, while loading up on interesting books, crystals, jewelry, and…

Cemetery Symbols: What do Half-Carved Stones Represent?

Cemetery Symbol: Why do these headstones look half-finished? No, the monument maker didn’t get fed up and quit halfway through the job. When you see a half-carved headstone such as these, it represents the transition from life into death. Additionally, half-carved stones convey the idea that while we may accomplish many things during our time on earth, we have even more to learn and do in the afterlife. So headstones like these symbolically remind us not to place too much importance on what we do or don’t achieve during our life because we still have much more “polishing” to do…

Cemetery Symbols: Epitaphs for the Living?

Inspired by a Microphone with Wings To me, visiting historic graveyards is like opening a dictionary or using a search engine. While I start out with a clear idea of the information I wish to find, I’m nearly always distracted by other things along the way: a unique monument, a strange name, or in this case, a microphone with wings. Not to mention that I’ve never seen seen someone described as “debonair” on their headstone before! Here’s the full epitaph for “Todd” Harith Rahman Miles a.k.a. MC Pradah Black: “Devoted Christian rapper, writer, poet, musician, and producer. He was creative, outspoken,…

Cemetery Symbols: Headstones, Footstones & Misleading Names

Why do most headstones face east? Most people have heard the word “headstone” before. Generally speaking, headstones mark where the head of the deceased is situated. In most Christian cemeteries, the person is oriented so that the body faces east. According to this tradition, this means they will be facing the right direction when the sun comes up on Judgment Day. In a family plot, however, there is often one major headstone. While this monument may have the names of family members inscribed on it, it usually only has the family’s last name. So, you might see a large marker…