Hand Symbols

The image of hands in some form is very common on gravestones and they are most often shown praying, pointing, clasping or blessing.

Clasped hands shown in a handshake identify the deceased meeting his maker and is a symbolic of a welcome into Heaven. The hands are often seen with the word Farewell inscribed above or below the hands: farewell to earthly existence with the hope of meeting in eternity.

Handshake

The depiction of a man holding a woman’s hand (identified by a frilly cuff) indicates marriage or a close bond between individuals, and represents unity and affection even after death. The person who died first holds the other’s hand, guiding the spouse to heaven.

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Most of the hands illustrate the right hand in a grasp with fingers overlapping the other hand while the left hand is open.

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When the handshake is enclosed within a wreath of flowers it denotes heavenly joy and bliss.

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Praying hands are a symbol of devotion, a pious person in life or prayer for eternal life

Hands praying    Hands praying star

Hands holding a book are an embodiment of Faith

gggHand Holding Bible Mumma Cemetery Antietam Battlefield Sharpsburg MD (13) quaker-cemetery-hand-with-bible

A hand holding a chain with a broken link symbolizes the death of a family member.

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A hand holding a heart is a symbol used by the fraternal organizations I.O.O.F (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) and Masons. It symbolizes charity and is common on 19th century memorials.

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A hand holding a palm leaf is the hand of God reaching down from a cloud to lay a flower on a grave

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Hands making the “Live long and prosper” sign (hands touching at thumbs and sometimes forefingers joined) represents members of the priestly tribe of Aaron. It is a benediction or blessing.

jewish priestly blessing

This image represents the hand of God bringing a soul unto himself.

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2 thoughts on “Hand Symbols”

  1. The three chain links with ‘F. L. T.’ are I.O.O.F. &/or Rebekahs (the womens organization of the OddFellows) and they are not part of the Masonic Lodge. The I.O.O.F. and the Masonic Lodge are two separate fraternal orders. They do use similar symbols, but that does not make them the same organization ;o)

    I am a Rebekah
    Nancy S.
    PNG, PDDP

    1. I am aware that they are not the same fraternal orders. It’s all in how you read the written word. From my perspective I was commenting that the symbol is used by both fraternities.

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