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headstone-meanings-and-symbols L

Lily on a Headstone

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Firstly, the connection of flowers with death goes back to the dawn of history, and it is quite common these days to find a Lily on a headstone.

In ancient Egypt and during the Roman Era, Lilies were often associated with death and funerals.

Commonly for the Victorian’s, the recently deceased would rest in their home prior to their funeral taking place. The use of flowers surrounding the body served to not only mask the sadness, but also the smell of the body. The lily deserves special prominence as it has a strong fragrance and was a favourite symbol of the Victorians.

Last but not least, their are varying species of lilies, each with their have different symbolic meaning. To decipher the true meaning of a lily on a headstone, you have to look at the other symbols surrounding it.

Lily on a headstone representing Majesty

  • Juno, Queen of Heaven was a Roman mother-goddess protecting childbirth, marriage and women in general.
  • Solomon’s temple – 1 Kings 7:19 – The capitals which were on the top of the pillars in the porch were of lily design, four cubits
  • Luke 12:29 – Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these

Lily of the Valley

In Victorian symbology a lily of the valley represents the ‘return of happiness’. This lily has a look of bluebells and is not to be confused with other lilies. It is also known as the Ladder to Heaven.

Lily representing Purity and Immortality

There’s an old legend about Jove desiring to make the baby Hercules immortal. Whilst Hera, Queen of Heaven was asleep under the influence of a sleeping drug prepared by Somnus, Jove placed the baby to Hera’s breast in order to take the milk that would ensure his immortality. Hercules drew the milk too quickly and some drops fell to Earth, and the white lily was born symbolising purity.

White lilies are also associated with funerals as they represent the soul returning to innocence after death

Lily on a headstone representing Virginity

The white lily also symbolises the Virgin’s purity and is often associated in the Catholic church with the Virgin Mary

Lily representing Resurrection

Finally, the Easter Lily represents new life and hope.

Their white colour represents purity and trumpet shaped bloom corresponds to Gabriel’s trumpet on the Day of Judgement

Varieties of Lily

  • Calla Lily
  • Easter Lily
  • Imperial Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Water Lily

Bibliography:
Flora symbolica; or, The language and sentiment of flowers by Ingram, John H., 1869

Amanda Norman Photography
To view more of Amanda’s graveyard photography, please visit her AmandaNorman.com
Categories
L

Letter L

If what you’re looking for on a headstone, or in a graveyard, or a cemetery begins with the letter L, you will find it here within the graveyard symbols A to Z.

  • Ladder Jacob’s ladder that leads to heaven
  • Lambs are representations of Christ, The Lamb of God‘.

A Lamb on a Headstone

A lamb on a headstone often indicates the grave of an infant due to their innocence and this is especially true if there are no other headstone symbols to be seen. The big giveaway is the age of the deceased marked on the headstone if available.

In many religions, the lamb is also a symbol of sacrifice and therefore in some cases, it could be used for a person who was either innocent in life or that the deceased sacrificed something significant in their life time.

  • Lamb of God / Agnus Dei
    • Christianity often refers Christ to a Lamb of God.
    • John 1.29: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world
    • The Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) is often shown with a banner/flag and a cross, but it can also be shown with a shepherds crook or the alpha and omega symbols.
Amanda Norman Photography
To view more of Amanda’s graveyard photography, please visit her AmandaNorman.com
  • Lamps represent the light of truth or Christ
  • Laurel in Victorian symbology it represents glory. Laurel wreaths are usually made from Bay trees.
  • Laus Deo is a latin phrase for Praise be to God
  • Lilies are frequently associated with death and the different species, and colours have a variety of meanings
  • Lily of the Valley in Victorian symbology represents ‘return of happiness‘ as taken from Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Her tears turned into lilies of the valley. Also see Lily on a Headstone.
  • Lion can represent power or a family crest. A winged lion represents Mark the Evangelist
  • Lyra see harp

Explore more than just the Letter L

Here at Headstone Symbols, we are building a complete reference guide to provide you with a complete A-Z.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z