Cemetery Update Services

Cemetery Symbolism


Taken from the 2006 “Winona County Historical Society” Woodlawn Cemetery Discovery Walk Brochure

Since ancient times, cemetery symbolism has helped people express their sorrow for the deceased and their religious beliefs about death and the afterlife.  The use of stone as a material for grave memorials is itself a symbol since stone represents the qualities of firmness and timelessness.  Messages depicted on stone will, in theory, be eternal and commemorate the deceased individual’s life on earth.


Anchor:  Hope, Christ as he prevents us from drifting off and becoming lost

Book:  Faith, memory, knowledge, the Book Of Life, the Bible

Broken Column:  Life cut short, the eventual ruin of us all

Cross:  Christian faith, the four elements, hope, love, everlasting salvation

Crown:  Honor, glory, immortality

Draped Urn:  Sorrow

Angels:  Spirituality, guardians of the tomb, guides to the soul, mourners of untimely death of the innocent

Children:  Untimely death, purity

Hearts:  Love, courage, intelligence

Hands:  Are often depicted doing one of four things:  clasping, praying, pointing and blessing;  symbolizing charity, the final farewell and hope of Heaven

White Dove:  Peace, purity, spirituality

Lamb:  The Virgin Mary, purity, resurrection, usually a lamb is the symbol on baby’s or children’s stones

Fleur-de-lis:  Flame, passion, ardor, the Trinity

Wreath:  An ancient symbol of victory;  it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption

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