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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Roses

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

What does a rosebud signify on a headstone?

ROSE: Not only do roses represent earthly passion (just think how many are given at Valentine’s Day) but they also stand for heavenly perfection.

When carved on a headstone, roses nearly always have 3 leaves. A quick look at my backyard rose bush confirmed that this is not botanically accurate! Symbolically, however, this trio of leaves represents the holy trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Rosebuds most often appear on the graves of children and teens as a way of expressing that they were not able to achieve their full potential. A single blossom, such as the one in the photo above, usually signifies the passing of a young woman.

Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism

Do you enjoy visiting historic graveyards? Are you intrigued by cemetery symbols, too? Drop by each Tuesday, when I will be posting about a headstone symbol and what it represents. I am currently writing a book on the topic, and will be sharing tidbits along the way.

To read related posts, click on the “Historic Cemetery Symbols” tab on the menu bar at the top of this page. And if you’d like to be the first to read my field guide to historic graveyards, scroll down and sign up for my newsletter!

Want to read more?

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For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best selling travel guide to haunted places: Paranormal Texas.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out: The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber. Happy travels!

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Tui Snider having fun on a Texas road trip!
Tui Snider having fun on a Texas road trip!

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Published inCemeteries & SymbolismHistoric Cemeteries


  1. I, too, am fascinated by these symbols and appreciate your sharing the information…love to walk through cemeteries, but will enjoy it more now knowing what some of these symbols represent.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      That’s wonderful to hear, Connie! Your response is exactly why I share these posts about the meaning behind various cemetery symbols. Thank you! :)

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      I know, Virginia! Historic graveyards are full of stories, and some of them are truly heartbreaking. :(

  2. Barbara Barbara

    I’ve really enjoyed and learned a lot about cemetery symbolism from your posts. Thanks for doing all the research on it. I wonder if the funeral directors, or even the stonecutters for the markers know all this? Do they make suggestions to people. Well, this has been going on forever, I suppose. Maybe it’s just me that had no idea about what the engravings/carvings meant.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hey, Barbara! I’m so glad to hear that you are enjoying my posts on cemetery symbols. There are so many interesting historic graveyards here in Texas, but I soon found that I didn’t know what all the imagery and symbols meant. It’s been so fun to learn about.

      Like you, I’m curious how much emphasis modern day funeral directors place on these symbols. My friend’s relative is in the business, however, and he said she has an excellent book on cemetery symbols that I need to see. I’ll let you know how it goes! :)

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