My great aunt was quite an expert on the meaning of funerary art. I’m not.
However, the wreath in this Greco-Roman maiden’s hand intrigued me. What does ivy signify in a cemetery context?
According to VintageViews.com’s Glossary of Victorian Cemetery Symbolism, ivy signifies “memory, immortality, friendship, fidelity, faithfulness, undying affection, eternal life.”
Memorials.com’s Symbols on Headstones Demystified says the ivy wreath is symbolic of “gaiety, joviality.… The wreath and festoon together symbolize memory.… Use of garlands, wreaths and festoons dates back to ancient Greek times and it was adopted into the Christian religion as a symbol of the victory of the redemption. [Ivy wreaths are an a]ncient symbol of victory, memory, passed to eternal life.”
Gaiety and joviality seem rather out of place in a cemetery. We visit a cemetery to mourn and remember the ones we’ve lost, not have a party. But maybe those concepts are not so out of place. Only my mother’s and grandparents’ bodies lie in that grave plot. Their spirits have gone before me and I will see them again. That I can celebrate.GHTime Code(s): 8cd58