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Cemetery Symbols: H is for Handshake

(photo by Tui Snider)
(photo by Tui Snider)

What does a handshake mean on a headstone?

HANDSHAKE: When my field guide to graveyards is complete, it will certainly include an entire chapter on the meaning of hands in cemetery iconography. Hands appear frequently and are used to indicate many different things.

For the purposes of this A to Z post, I have chosen the type of handshake that indicates a married couple. Without seeing the names, you can tell the wife is on the left and the man is on the right due to the jewelry and style of clothing on each. The woman’s hand often appears more delicate than the man’s, as well.

Although the handshake alone is enough to announce to us that this is a married couple, they also chose to add a rope to let us know that they “tied the knot.” Despite it’s use as a motto for the Marine Corps, in this case “semper fidelis” (meaning “always faithful”) likely refers to their union.

I am not sure what the ring on her finger means, but finding a historic headstone as loaded with symbolic imagery as this one is always fires my imagination!

Oh – and speaking of marriage, today’s my wedding anniversary! My hubby and I tied the knot (literally and figuratively) at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival four years ago today. (If you’re curious, I posted a few photos here: My Big Fat Ren Fair Wedding)

How to comment: Please comment about this post on Tui Snider’s Facebook. Leave your link in the comments, and I’ll drop by your blog, too. You can also tweet me at @TuiSnider. (My blog comments are broken, but I’m trying to get that fixed. *sigh*)

What is the April A to Z Blog Challenge?

Each April, people from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers. To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then use the blog hop linky to visit as many other bloggers as you can.

Visit other A to Z bloggers:

Find out more about the April A to Z blog challenge, and check out the other participants!


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Published inHistoric Cemeteries

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