Monday, October 1, 2007

CDP Theme Day: Cemetery / Tombstone

This little angel rests on top of a family headstone at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester. I'm not sure what the rocks are all about - I noticed a number of headstones through out the cemetery that had piles of small stones on top of them - some a few spread out, some piles of 6-10 clumped together.

We couldn't resist giving you just one photo, so below is a photo Whit took of the markings on a headstone in one of the burial grounds downtown (the same burial ground where Sam Adams is buried!).


As it turns out, the skull and crossbones are not an atypical grave marking for the Colonial times - it was actually one of the most common found in early New England cemeteries! It is believed that the skull and crossbones can represent the mortality of man, or it can be a symbol of death and resurrection (I guess pirates and angels have something in common?!). On the other hand , it was also used to mark the graves of those who had died of contagious disease as a sign that you shouldn't disturb the grave "lest the disease be awakened".

ETA: Thanks to all the commentors for filling us in on the meaning of the stones left atop the headstones - I knew the CDP community was a smart one! ;)

There are currently 103 blogs participating in this theme day:
St. Louis (MO), USA - San Diego (CA), USA - Cleveland (OH), USA - New York City (NY), USA - Boston (MA), USA - Mainz, Germany - Hyde, UK - Arlington (VA), USA - Cape Town, South Africa - Saint Paul (MN), USA - Toulouse, France - Arradon, France - Menton, France - Monte Carlo, Monaco - Montego Bay, Jamaica - Ampang (Selangor), Malaysia - Joplin (MO), USA - Cottage Grove (MN), USA - Bellefonte (PA), USA - Mexico (DF), Mexico - Seattle (WA), USA - Baziège, France - Baltimore (MD), USA - Chandler (AZ), USA - Sequim (WA), USA - Stayton (OR), USA - Stockholm, Sweden - Austin (TX), USA - Singapore, Singapore - Anderson (SC), USA - Orlando (FL), USA - Greenville (SC), USA - Wassenaar (ZH), Netherlands - Nashville (TN), USA - Tenerife, Spain - Manila, Philippines - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Jacksonville (FL), USA - River Falls (WI), USA - Chateaubriant, France - Quincy (MA), USA - Rabaul, Papua New Guinea - Buenos Aires, Argentina - Crystal Lake (IL), USA - Inverness (IL), usa - Lubbock (TX), USA - Phoenix (AZ), USA - Moscow, Russia - Norwich (Norfolk), UK - Crepy-en-Valois, France - Minneapolis (MN), USA - New Orleans (LA), USA - Montréal (QC), Canada - West Sacramento (CA), USA - Toruń, Poland - Philadelphia (PA), USA - Christchurch, New Zealand - London, England - Paderborn, Germany - The Hague, Netherlands - Selma (AL), USA - Sunderland, UK - Kyoto, Japan - Tokyo, Japan - Stavanger, Norway - Fort Lauderdale (FL), USA - Weston (FL), USA - Portland (OR), USA - Forks (WA), USA - Saint-Petersburg, Russian Federation - Maple Ridge (BC), Canada - Boston (MA), USA - Sydney, Australia - Wellington, New Zealand - Montpellier, France - Jackson (MS), USA - Wailea (HI), USA - Petaling Jaya (Selangor), Malaysia - Evry, France - Saarbrücken, Germany - New York City (NY), USA - Santa Fe (NM), USA - North Bay (ON), Canada - Melbourne, Australia - Port Vila, Vanuatu - Cypress (TX), USA - Saint Louis (MO), USA - Paris, France - San Diego (CA), USA - Wichita (Ks), USA - Haninge, Sweden - Prague, Czech Republic - Zurich, Switzerland - Budapest, Hungary - Paris, France - Saigon, Vietnam - Grenoble, France - Zurich, Switzerland - Port Angeles (WA), USA - Naples (FL), USA - Toronto (ON), Canada - Sequim (WA), USA - Chicago (IL), USA

17 comments:

Hyde DP said...

Nice composition in these photos.

R&R in The Netherlands said...

I like the contrast between the angel and the skull!

Lavenderlady said...

Hah...I did not that fact about the skull and crossbones. Thankyou for sharing. As for the rocks, I remember something in the back of my mind about a custom of putting a small stone on a marker, each time you visit. No idea what it means...I wonder if anyone else knows of the story behind the rocks.

Sally said...

Hey, I notcied that little rocks/pebbles thing on a couple of graves in Montparnasse cemetery in paris too....maybe it's an international movement of some kind?

Sydney Daily Photo

Jilly said...

I adore the first photo. And yes, you turned the tables on us with the second one!

Chris said...

Thanks for sharing the info on the skull and crossbones. . . I had thought it a little ghoulish until your explanation.

Re: the stones on the graves. . .If you saw Schindler's List, you may have noticed that they did that at the end of the movie when they buried Schindler.

According to a Jewish friend of mine, it is Jewish custom to leave a stone so that future visitors will know others had been there. I also read that its origins are in the fact that ancient tombs consisted of large stones piled upon each other. The practice of putting the stones on someone's grave indicate that one is helping build a monument to the deceased.

isabella said...

That's not a happy angel in the first photo...but utterly charming!

Thanks for the interesting narrative. (I also learned about the stones in Shindler's List)

Kate said...

Yes, it is a Jewish custom re. the stones. When I visited Israel I brought stones from MN to put on Shindler's grave. The graveyards there have many, many stones indicating visits by loved ones and curiosity seekers, too, I suppose! This photo is very poignant.

soosha_q said...

Beautiful shots!

STLdailyphoto

Rambling Round said...

Just learned my something new for today ...2 things...the meaning of the rocks as well as the skull and crossbones. I've never seen either in a cemetery.

zentmrs said...

Great shots!

Lynette said...

I like your two photos and the information you have with them, plus the comments. That's three for three--a great batting average, right?

Thanks for visiting Portland (OR) Daily Photo's theme post, too.

jelvistar said...

Great info and photos!

Port Angeles Daily Photo

Clueless in boston said...

Nice photos! One thing about Cedar Grove Cemetery you may not know is that it is the only cemetery in the world a trolley goes through (when not under construction). Cheers!

Château-Gontierdailyphoto said...

Nice composition...I prefer the first one...later I would prefer to stand with angels...

Neva said...

I have learned a few things today. I l.o.v.e the CDPB community.

slinger said...

I never knew this about the skull on the gravestone, yet I've never seen this on a gravestone....great photos.