Viewing Tip

If you see a large "X" at the top right of Ask Olive Tree Genealogy blog, click on the "X" to close it. Closing the "X" will give you the best viewing experience and allow you to leave a comment on a blog post

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Placing Stones on Graves - Where did the Custom Start

Vince asked
This probably isn't a challenging puzzler for you, but a while back I read in one of your articles about leaving a polished stone on gravesites. Can you tell me about this tradition and where it came from?
Hi Vince,

It's a good question! Placing stones on cemetery tombstones is mainly a Jewish custom. When the tradition started, grave monuments were mounds of stones. Visitors added stones to the mound to show we are never finished building the monument to the deceased. Many people place stones simply to show they visited the gravesite.

Some people believe that placing a stone is simply a way of saying "here lie the remains of a person worth remembering". And the pebble or stone lets others know that someone did come and remember.

You might enjoy reading Rabbi Jonathan Maltzman relating the story of the Tradition of Why Stones are Placed on the Grave which gives an entirely different explanation!

We are not Jewish but I brought a basket of polished stones for those attending my mother and father's Memorial Service to leave on the monument if they wanted to. I did this because I like the idea of taking a quiet moment to reflect on the departed, to place a stone to show you were there and that you remember the deceased.

1 comment:

  1. I like the custom, maybe I will start that myself. For my ancestors long gone, someone is thinking about them even if we have never known them.