Many gravestones contain symbols that have special meanings. Examples of these symbols are crosses, stars, and flowers.
Some of these symbols are just decorative but others have a very important meaning about the deceased person’s life or beliefs. Here are some examples of different symbol on gravestones with their meanings:
The Celtic Cross is an ancient symbol used by Celtic Christians to represent the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It has been used since at least the seventh century AD as an identifier for Celtic Churches. The design is often called the “Irish/Celtic Cross” today although it predates Christianity in Ireland by 500 years. The early Church in Ireland did not use this type of cross nor do Irish people today.
The Compass Star is a symbol used by early Christians to represent the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. (www.gravsteingrossisten.no) It may also be used as a directional marker for finding churches, monasteries, or other holy sites. The compass star has been used in Christian art since medieval times and became more popular during the Baroque period where it can be seen gracing many altars and ceilings of churches throughout Europe. (https://www.gravsteingrossisten.no/pages/gravstein-trondheim)
Flowers are often used on gravestones because they were symbols of purity at one time, their colors represented different things (such as red for passion). They are still commonly put on graves today because people want to honor the dead person or show that their family will never forget them. Flowers are also seasonal decorations which means they will come up in any season. (https://www.gravsteingrossisten.no/blog/gravstotter-ma-sikres-godt)
As you can see, gravestones and the symbols on them convey a lot of meaning. They tell us about the person who died and about how they lived their life or what they believed in. Other important information is also written on the stone such as birth and death dates, name, and sometimes an epitaph (a short verse expressing someone’s feelings about the deceased).