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Memorial Symbolism

Aesculapian Rod: A serpent and staff thought by many to be the proper symbol for doctors instead of the winged Caduceus.

Anchor: Hope; Jesus the anchor of the soul, traditional maritime symbol

Axe: A vow, consecration, defense

Banner: Triumph, victory

Beads: Prayer

Bell: Invitation, call to worship

Birds: Human souls

Bishop's Staff: Pastoral authority

Book: The Bible, Divine authorship, knowledge, scripture

Broken Column: Death

Butterfly: The Resurrection

Caduceus: Symbol of the medical profession (There are many variations depending upon the area of specialty.)

Candle: Jesus Christ the Light of the World, also the symbol of devotion

Candlesticks (two): Jesus’ qualities as both God and man

Candlesticks (three) or Three-Branched Candelabrum: The Holy Trinity

Candlesticks (five) or Five-Branched Candelabrum: The five wounds of Christ

Candlesticks (six) or Six-Branched Candelabrum: The six days of creation or the six hours spent by Jesus on the cross

Candlesticks (seven) or Seven-Branched Candelabrum: The Church, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the Seven Sacraments

Circle: Eternity, completeness, perfection

Crossed Keys: St. Peter, Gates of Heaven

Crown: Rank, sovereignty, royalty

Crown of Thorns: The Suffering Savior, a Passion symbol

Cross: Christ and His atoning death, Christ’s redemption of fallen humanity

Dove: Peace, purity, meekness, modesty, humility, the Holy Ghost, divine inspiration, innocence

Eagle: Christ, Holy Baptism, St. John

Festoon: Memory

Fire: Martyrdom, zeal, inspiration, youthful fervor, hell, purgatory, sacrifice, purification

Fish: Jesus

Fish/Three: The Trinity

Five-Pointed Star: The wounds of Christ, the Star of Jacob, Divine guidance and protection

Flaming Sword: Expulsion from Eden, with shield: St. Michael

Grapes: The Eucharist, twelve bunches: the Apostles, clusters of grapes on a running vine: Jesus and His followers, the Church, unity

Hand: Issuing from clouds: the Father

Harp: Joy, music, symbol of St. Cecilia patron saint of musicians, associated with David and worship, worship in heaven

Heart: Christian charity, surmounted by a flame: intense zeal or devotion

Lamb: Innocence, purity, sacrifice, Christ

Lamp: Knowledge, truth, enlightenment, Word of God, good works, Divine inspiration

Pastoral Staff: Authority

Pierced Heart: With a lance or spear, a Passion symbol

Plenty, Horn of: The Lord's bounty, Thanksgiving

Pomegranate: The Resurrection, immortality, royalty, fertility, The Church

Pyramid: Light, strength

Rainbow: Promise

Ram: Sacrifice

Rod: Official power, also a Passion symbol

Rope: A Passion symbol, Judas' death

Rosary: Prayer

Rose: Love, Christ, The Nativity.

Rosette: An ornament in the form of a conventional rose or other design of circular form, used as a decoration

Scallop Shell: Baptism, the Baptism of Christ, Christian pilgrimage, and marine affairs

Scythe: Death

Serpent: Death, wisdom

Seven Golden Candlesticks: The Seven Churches of Asia Minor

Seven-Branched Candlestick: The Church, The Seven Churches of Asia Minor, The Seven Angels of the Apocalypse, The Seven Gifts of

the Sheep, Christians

Twelve Sheep: The Twelve Apostles, sheep and goats: the redeemed and the lost

Shield: Faith, protection

Shells: Christianity

Shepherd’s Crook: Authority, Dominion

Staff: Religious jurisdiction, kindness, shepherd-like qualities/responsibilities

Star: Christ, life

Sword: Power, justice, authority, martyrdom

Triangle: Trinity

Trumpet: Call to worship, call of the Holy Spirit, Judgment Day, resurrection

Urn: Death, sorrow (draped)

Wings: Aspiration, flight of the Gospel

Flowers -

While this list is not a complete list of all flowers, trees and other plants used in memorial art, it serves as a comprehensive guide to some of

the more popular symbols found in cemeteries.

Apple: The fall of man, sin, Eve, discord, Virgin Mary

Apple Blossom: Fame

Azalea: Temperance

Calla Lily: Sympathy, zeal

Clover: Industry

Cornucopia/Horn of Plenty: Bounty, blessings, Thanksgiving

Cultivated Rose: Everlasting love

Daisy: The Christ Child's innocence, youth, righteousness, innocence

Dogwood: Crucifixion

Easter Lily: Resurrection

Grape: Charity

Grape Vine: The Eucharist, The Church, unity, Christ and his followers

Holly: Christmas

Iris: God-like qualities, eloquence, a message, protection

Ivy: Memory, remembrance, faithfulness, friendship, (often seen with oak)

Laurel Wreath: Triumph, victory, distinction, reward, good report

Lily: Easter, resurrection, the Virgin Mary, purity

Lily of the Valley: The Virgin Mary, humility, purity, return of happiness

Morning Glory: Resurrection, youth, promise, bonds of love and affection

Oak: Strength, virtue, character, eternity, endurance, forgiveness, independence (often seen with ivy)

Olive Branch: Peace, victory

Orange Blossom: Matrimony, chastity, purity

Palm: Victory, eternal peace, heavenly reward, success, righteousness, martyrdom, victory over sin and death

Papyrus: Love

Passion Flower: Crucifixion, Passion of Christ

Pine: Eternity, everlasting life

Pineapple: Friendship, hospitality

Pine Cone: Fertility, regeneration, healing

Poinsettia: Christmas, birth of Hope

Pomegranate: Resurrection, immortality, royalty, eternity, The Church

Poppy: Sleep, consolation, rest

Rose: Love, Christ, Nativity, joy, martyrdom

Rosette: Decorative form of rose in a circle

Sunflower: Adoration, glory, the soul turning to Christ

Thistle: Independence, austerity, sin, the fall of man

Tulip: Love, charity, declaration of love, ardent affection

Violets: Modesty, humility, graciousness, affection, faithfulness, sweetness, loyalty

Wheat: Riches, thanksgiving, life, bread of life, Body of Christ

Wheat/Broken: Death

Wheat/Bundle: Harvest, bounty

Wild Rose: Love, Christ, Messianic promise

A Tribute

A monument is an enduring tribute to your loved one that will speak to generations to come. Let us help you create the ideal memorial today.

Hopkinsville Monument Company | 400 North Main Street, Hopkinsville, KY 42240 | (270) 885-8723 or cell (270) 839-7132

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