Cemetery Symbols

Wheat and Sickles

 Mrs. Sarah A. Carpenter. Died May 4, 1888, aged 54. Coopersville-Polkton Cemetery, Michigan.

Mrs. Sarah A. Carpenter. Died May 4, 1888, aged 54. Coopersville-Polkton Cemetery, Michigan.

Wheat on gravestones can symbolize a long life and/or an abundant, full life. Although the age of 54 seems young now, it was above average life expectancy at the time. Other meanings can include that it represents the body of Christ or the Divine harvest. Often, wheat is symbolized, as it is here, as gathered into a sheaf. A sheaf is created from harvested wheat or other grains and so the symbol may also combine the earlier ideas to mean that the person is being harvested after their full, ripe life to go on to a new life after death.

Sickles or scythes typically represent a life cut off, or death. They may accompany the wheat symbol since sickles were used in the past to harvest wheat. And, of course, scythes are often represented as accompanying the Grim Reaper.