Symbolism & Optional Extras
If you visit a cemetery, you’ll see a wide array of symbols and images engraved on headstones and memorials. They range from religious and philosophical through to the purely decorative.
Many of these symbols or images have meanings associated with them. For example, you may see the following:
Angels: The guardianship of someone’s soul
Weeping angels: Sorrow at the person’s death
A candle: The light of God or the person’s soul
Cherubs: Traditionally on childrens’ graves
A circle: Eternal life (this is sometimes shown as a snake swallowing its own tail)
A dove: Peace and freedom
A lamb: A symbol of God, often on the graves of children
A flaming torch: Eternal life
Clasped hands:: A promise of reunion in heaven
A tree: Longevity, a family figurehead
Wheat: The person had a long and fruitful life
A teddy bear: Comfort for a child or baby
In the past, many graves included skulls, scythes, skeletons or hourglasses. These symbols typically represented mortality and the fleetingness of life. However, these symbols have become less common in modern times.