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A Reflection Of Life: Tombstone Symbolism You Should Know

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Planning a funeral, even if it is your own, can be an enduring process. In choosing the ideal tombstone, you may decide to add some extra "bling" that will make it stand out. No matter the case, adding one of these fixtures to your tombstone means something extra special. Here are the most common ones you should know:

  • Anchor - The anchor is a symbol of eternal life, symbolizing inspirational hope. Once a staple on the graves of sailors, the anchor has also become a Masonic symbol. If featured alongside a rope or chain, the anchor is also a symbol of the United States Navy.
  • Heart - A heart on a tombstone represents the soul and affection that a loved one had.
  • Cherubs - The cherub, as well as any other representation of a child, is reminiscent of innocence.
  • Birds - Birds are meant to be a messenger of God according to religious symbolism, and that is why you will commonly see them on gravestones. Doves are among the most common birds on display. An ascending dove represents the rise of the soul to heaven, but a descending bird represents the individual coming down to help another loved one ascend.
  • Flag - A flag is most commonly found on the headstone of somebody who served in the military.
  • Harp - A harp represents faith in a religious deity, often representing praise and worship.
  • Arches - One arch is a symbol of victory, even in death. It is also symbolic of the door to heaven. If you have two arches on a tombstone, it is likely that this individual is being rejoined in heaven with a spouse.
  • Candle - A burning candle symbolizes everlasting life.
  • Alpha and Omega - You may recognize Alpha as the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega as the last. People often designate these letters on a tombstone to symbolize the beginning and end of life.
  • Butterfly - The butterfly is often a symbol of a life cut short, but it can also be a symbol of the soul leaving the body for eternity.
  • Flower - Each type of flower symbolizes something new. The calla lily, for instance, represents beauty.
  • Column - Mortality is easily represented in the column. You may see broken columns as well, which represent the loss of the head of the family.
  • Acorns - You will often see acorns as a symbol of authority and possibly even victory. For this reason, acorns are common on military tombstones.
  • Deer - A deer is a mark of an outdoorsman or hunter.

If you have a design in mind, or even if you are unsure, consider speaking to a local specialist about their memorials, such as First Call Cemetery Monuments headstones.