Grave Markers: Honoring The Dead With Flowers, Pebbles And Coins

Grave markers are a way to commemorate deceased loved ones and give you a place to mourn or celebrate their life. However, sometimes a gravestone, isn't enough. On many graves, you may spot different tokens, such as flowers, pebbles and coins, but what exactly do these symbols mean?


One of the most common sights you'll see on gravestones is flowers. Some experts date this practice back to Ancient Rome as a means to mark special burial sites and to create a pleasant environment for the deceased's spirit. Today, flowers are a way to celebrate those loved ones you have lost, and different flowers have different meanings:

  • Red rose: love, respect and courage
  • Yellow rose: friendship
  • Forget-me-not: memories
  • Gladiolus: strength, character and integrity
  • Nasturtium: patriotism
  • Poppy: eternal sleep


Jewish graves rarely have flowers on them because Jewish authorities view bringing flowers as a pagan custom. Instead of flowers, you'll notice pebbles on Jewish graves. The stones have no specific pattern and they vary in size, so what is the meaning behind the stones? There are different explanations, but one belief is that the stones help anchor the spirit, preventing it from leaving the grave.

Regardless of which explanation you choose, however, they all share a special message: solidarity. Flowers wither and die, which is a good symbol for life. But headstones are meant to remember the dead, and memories are forever, just like stones.


When you spot coins on a gravestone, there may be different reasons. If the individual did not serve in the military, it may just be a nod to the Greek mythological ferryman of Hades. He requires payment to take the souls of the dead across the River Styx.

For military members, however, there is a more significant meaning. This tradition actually dates back to Roman times, but it wasn't used in America until the Vietnam War. It is a way to let the families of the fallen soldier know another soldier has been there, and different coins carry different meanings:

  • Penny: you knew the deceased
  • Nickle: you trained together
  • Dime: you served together
  • Quarter: you were there when they died

Leaving a little token on a loved one's gravestone is a perfect way to let them know you still think about them. Different tokens have different meanings, however, so understanding them is important. For more information about grave markers, contact Palmer Bros Granite Co. or a similar company.