Gravestones and Headstones have been used for centuries by generations of people from a variety of cultures. Beyond the obvious of marking graves with names and dates, they represent many things to many people.
A gravestone, you see, is a headstone, and vice versa. They are also known as grave markers or tombstones, headstones, and even monuments. With such a broad heading, a person can really delve deep into the world of these almost secret languages.
Some can be large and oppressive statues, surveying the land around them and some but small, tiny markers one could easily overlook. Whole mausoleums or above-ground vaults can be marked with such placards and can cover a multitude of people in these circumstances. They often have a symbol of some meaning and an epitaph included with the name, birth date, and death date of the person they represent.
Symbols found on these markers can be a kind of hidden or secret language to those that know their meanings and history. One symbol can mean multiple things depending on region and circumstance and even have a number of beliefs and superstitions associated with them.
Epitaphs can be short “famous last words”, the thing the person was famous for, a lament of mourning, or even long poetry depicting the love and loss of the ones left behind.
Often orientation even has meaning when it comes to this somewhat convoluted cultural right of passage. There have been reports of someone being placed facing away or even outside the gates for displeasing the community in some way or even out of fear depending on the circumstance of the deceased’s passage.
And so, gravestones, headstones, tombstones, and markers have a vast and rich story to tell. Stop and read one next time you get a chance.