Historic Cemetery Symbols
While it’s common for evergreen trees to be planted in historic graveyards, pine needles and pine cones are not symbols I see engraved on headstones as often as other trees – such as the oak tree.
Pine trees: Immortality
While it’s true that many coffins have been made from pine, this had more to do with practicality than symbolism. Where pine trees were widely available, they were often used to make coffins.
However, as a symbol (much like other evergreens, including holly, ivy, and yew) pine trees are associated with immortality and eternal life. Rather than lose their leaves each fall, pine trees stay green all year long, and in this way they symbolize the eternal nature of the soul. As for the pine cone, like corn, it may also be considered a fertility symbol because it holds the seeds for the plant.
The pine cones in the photo I shared on today’s post are perfectly centered in the middle of a headstone for a man and wife. What does it mean, exactly? Most likely, the 3 pine cones are a symbol for the holy trinity. However, since pine cones may also be a fertility symbol, there is a slight chance that they mean the couple had 3 children.
That’s part of the fun of learning graveyard symbols; rather than tell you the whole story, they often point you in the direction you need to go to learn more through your own research!
My book: Understanding Cemetery Symbols
If you enjoy historic cemeteries, you may like to read my book Understanding Cemetery Symbols It’s a handy-dandy guide for taphophiles, genealogists, ghost hunters, and anyone else interested in the historic graveyard symbols that have become forgotten over the years.
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