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Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What does a lotus flower represent? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Lotus flower: an Ancient Egyptian symbol The lotus flower, also known as the water lily, is an important ancient Egyptian symbol.Since the lotus blooms during the day but closes at night, it symbolized the cycle of life and death. Egyptian columns are often topped with a lotus leaf, as you can…

Scraped Graveyards – a Southern Tradition? Understanding Cemetery Symbols #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Scraped Graveyards used to be common Lush green lawns are such a common feature of today’s burial grounds that if you could travel back in time to the 1800’s for a graveyard tour through the rural South, you might be in for a shock. Back then, many graveyards were kept free of…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What is the Hebrew version of RIP? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What does RIP stand for? In Christian cemeteries, it’s fairly common to see the acronym “RIP” on headstones. Although we tend to think of that as meaning “rest in peace,” it actually stands for “requiescat in pace.” Since that is Latin for “may h/she rest in peace,” it all works out! Do Jewish headstones…

How did a Victorian Era book influence cemetery symbolism? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] How did a Victorian Era book influence cemetery symbolism? In 1868, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps published a book entitled The Gates Ajar. Phelps’ book tells the story of a young woman grieving the loss of her brother, a soldier who died in the Civil War. After his death, the main character is unable to…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What’s Spock doing in a Historic Graveyard? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Live long and prosper? If you are a Star Trek fan, you may be surprised to see a pair of hands, seemingly giving Commander Spock’s famous “Live long and prosper” gesture, engraved on a headstone. As it happens, Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock in the famous TV show, was Jewish. As…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What are Grave Goods? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What are Grave Goods? When people visit cemeteries, they often leave items at gravesites such as coins, pebbles, seashells, decorations and items called “grave goods.” Two kinds of grave goods Items left at a gravesite that once belonged to the deceased or that are associated with the deceased, are called “grave…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: The strange evolution from skulls to cherubs #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] How symbols evolve: from skulls to cherubs Just like other symbols, the meaning of skulls depends upon its context in time, place, and religious belief. Skulls, or a skull and crossbones, are frequently seen on early American headstones. In the 16th and 17th century, skulls and other mortality symbols served to…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Why are benches so common in graveyards? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Why are benches so common in cemeteries? This historic cemetery tradition harkens back to ancient Greece: After erecting a table stone to place food and wine on during grave site celebrations, ancient Greeks often installed a type of stone bench called an exedra. Now the family had a place to sit during their…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Doves can mean many things! #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What do Doves symbolize? DOVES: In general, when you see dove depicted on headstones in historic cemeteries, they represent innocence, peace, and/ or the Holy Spirit. The meaning of a particular dove varies slightly, however, depending on what it is doing: DOVE FLYING UPWARDS: Stands for the soul’s ascent to Heaven. DOVE FLYING DOWNWARDS:…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Coins on Graves: Truth vs Urban Legend #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Coins on Graves? The practice of leaving coins with the deceased dates back to the ancient Greeks, who believed the rivers Styx and Acheron separated the living from the dead. A ferry trip was required to cross these waters, otherwise the soul of the deceased would be forced to wander the…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Birth of the Garden Cemetery #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] Bodies spilling into the streets -yikes! From the time of the Pilgrims through the 1700’s, American city dwellers were buried in churchyards. Unfortunately, as our cities grew in population, these urban burial grounds became overcrowded. This was especially troublesome during epidemics, when city graveyards were hastily filled with new bodies. From…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Alpha and Omega #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider [The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] What do Alpha and Omega look like? Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last. Since Alpha looks like an A and the Greek letter Zeta looks like a Z, people often assume that Zeta is the last letter in their alphabet. Well, surprise! It’s…

Full list of April A to Z posts for “Understanding Cemetery Symbols” #cemetery #history #GraveHour

April A to Z: “Understanding Cemetery Symbols” by Tui Snider   Master List of my 2018 April A to Z blog posts: I’m taking part in the annual April A to Z Blog Challenge for the sixth year in a row! This time, I’m sharing adapted excerpts from my latest book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Each day, I’ll add a link for that day’s featured post to the list below. [Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.] A…

Historic Cemeteries: Who is the AMBER Alert named after? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

The tragic tale of Amber Hagerman Have you ever wondered why news bulletins for missing children are called “Amber Alerts”? It’s a sad-but-true tale: In 1996, a little girl named Amber Hagerman disappeared while out riding bikes with her brother in Arlington, Texas. Even though her kidnapping was immediately reported to the police, the case had a tragic end. Amber’s dead body was discovered four days after her abduction, lying in a creek bed. Her neck had been slit. AMBER Alerts named after a kidnapped little girl Since evidence suggests Amber’s abductor kept her alive for at least two days, her relatives and concerned citizens brainstormed…

T-Shirt Giveaway: Vote for a Chance to Win Your Favorite Design!

You asked for T-Shirts: Readers of my books, especially those who enjoy Understanding Cemetery Symbols, keep asking me to create T-shirts using photos I take in historic graveyards. And while it’s fun creating mock up designs in Canva.com, it’s intimidating. I’ve had no idea how to actually manufacture the T shirts – until now! [Disclosure: I’m receiving free T-shirts for including a link to CreateAShirt in this post!] Enter CreateAShirt.com The other day I got an email from CreateAShirt.com. They offered to print out some shirts for me in exchange for linking to their site, as I just did in the previous sentence. Pretty…

St. Anthony of Egypt – Patron Saint of Gravediggers

St. Anthony’s feast day is January 17 For this week’s cemetery post, I decided to write about Saint Anthony of Egypt. Why? Because not only is his feast day January 17th, but he just so happens to be the patron saint of gravediggers. I figure that also makes him the patron saint of those of us who enjoy exploring historic graveyards! Non-Catholics celebrate feast days, too I’m not Catholic, but plenty of non-Catholics celebrate feast days. Case in point: St. Patrick’s Day. No one bats an eye if you’re a protestant, Jewish, or even an atheist who decides to drink green beer…

Did you know? “Xmas” is NOT a Disrespectful Way to Spell “Christmas”

All roads lead to Greece When researching the meaning behind historic cemetery symbols, I often joke that instead of finding that “all roads lead to Rome,” it seems that “all roads lead to Greece.” Here’s a good example: While looking into the meaning of the XP symbol that is such a common sight in historic cemeteries, I had a realization. Xmas is perfectly respectful An XP symbol on a headstone is a Christian symbol. Since Christ’s name starts with the letters X and P when spelled in Greek, XP (pronounced KEE-roe) is often used as shorthand for “Christ.” (I will…

Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins

Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins Did you know that Memorial Day began as a remembrance for Union soldiers who lost their lives in the American Civil War (1861-1865)? After World War I, this federal holiday was changed to honor all men and women who lost their lives in any US military conflict. Before that, Memorial Day was all about the north! Decoration Day Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. The word “decoration” refers to flags and bouquets with which citizens decorated the graves of fallen soldiers.  This name wasn’t changed until after World War II. Why is Memorial Day in…

Para Mysteries: Mortsafes & Caged Graves

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 post is about mortsafes and Resurrectionists. The topic was inspired by my friend, Teal Gray, when she told me about the mysterious Caged Graves of Catawassa. In fact, Teal and I will be discussing everything in this post during a one-hour radio show, as you can see in the graphic below:    Historic Cemeteries: Who were the Resurrectionists? These days, people often make arrangements to donate their body to science…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: Monkey Grave at an Upscale Restaurant

2 Graves at an Italian Restaurant? Voted #3 in a list of the Top 10 Iconic Streets in the USA, Worth Avenue is an upscale shopping street in the resort town of Palm Beach, Florida. So why are there two graves on Worth Avenue – one for a monkey and the other for a dog – tucked away in the courtyard of an Italian restaurant? Jazz Age eccentric: Addison Mizner It all starts with Addison Mizner (1872-1933) a quirky architect who settled in South Florida in 1918 after having lived all over the world, including China, New York, Guatemala, Alaska, and…