April A to Z Challenge 2020: It’s that time of year! Every April, bloggers around the world make posts for each letter of the alphabet. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to make friend online. Here’s my post for today:
[The following is an adapted from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy stuff after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.]
What do Anchors Symbolize in Cemeteries?
While anchors sometimes appear on the graves of sailors, you may be surprised to learn that this is the exception, not the rule!
I saw the headstone in the photo above in Old Biloxi City Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi. This is a seaside town, so it makes sense that this anchor-shaped headstone belongs to the captain of a ship.
Another clue is that this fellow died in 1976, so it’s a fairly modern stone. Modern headstones tend to use imagery quite literally, while older headstones use imagery in a symbolic manner.
Anchors are an Ancient Christian Symbol
More often than not, when seen on an older headstone, the anchor is a Christian symbol representing faith set in strong foundations.
Anchors were a Secret Symbol
In fact, during the Roman persecution of Christians, the anchor served as a secret symbol, a covert referral to the cross.
A Woman Holding an Anchor Stands for Hope
This is why anchors represent hope in troubled times. When you see a woman with an anchor beside her, such as the figure below, it stands for hope.
Learn more at my Historic Cemetery Podcast & Facebook Page:
Do you have questions about symbols you’ve seen on headstones? Drop by Exploring Historic Cemeteries on Facebook and let me know! And tune in to my 30-minute historic cemetery podcast on the first Tuesday of each month: Tombstone Tuesday with Tui Snider.
READ MY BOOK: If you enjoy historic cemeteries and want to learn more, check out my book: Understanding Cemetery Symbols. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and ebook form.