A Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, explained

Halloween was nearing when I wrote this article. And it’s that time of the year when Death becomes Life. Depending on the culture, Halloween is celebrated differently through morbid, but colorful traditions. But it all boils down to one thing, Halloween is an ever reminder that death is just another reality we must accept. And as what my friend noted, death isn’t just accepted here, but embraced and celebrated. And if that’s the case, I know that cemetery visits are also a cherished tradition. Actually, I have a fear of cemeteries, thanks mostly to my parents forcing me to go to a funeral. But even my morbid fear of the necropolis never stopped me from marveling at those strange symbolisms it had. People with sharp eyes often noted that crosses and angels aren’t the only decorations graves have. We might see something as striking as a winged skull, a tomb draped in stone veil, plants, trees, anything. And the coming Halloween inspired me to brave the bowels of the internet to search for the various symbols one could find in a cemetery.

And suddenly, I found cemeteries less frightening now, but fascinating.

We Will Start with Crosses
Crosses in a military cemetery in France.

Crosses were the staple of cemeteries. A stone or wooden cross marking the grave of the deceased is our general idea of a final resting place. A lot of times, crosses served as monuments for someone of Christian faith, being a symbol of the said religion. For the bereaved, crosses represent the passion and resurrection of Christ, a victory over death and a reminder of how the deceased found eternity in the afterlife. Nevertheless, crosses are also used for secular shrines, and it’s a common sight in war memorials.

Crosses found in cemeteries come in many variants, depending on the traditions and cultures. One example is the Calvary Cross. Calvary Crosses are graveyard stone crosses mounted on bases shaped to resemble the hill of Calvary. A cross, with a circle in the middle intersection the u