The Celtic Cross

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

One of the most easily identified and plentiful crosses found in the cemetery is the Celtic cross. The Celtic cross is much like the Latin cross with a long stem and crossbeams toward the top third. But the feature that distinguishes it from other crosses is the circle that encompasses the intersection of the crossbeams. Often, but not always, the cross will also have elaborate tracery designs on the cross itself, adding to the beauty. This cross is almost always associated with a person of Irish or Scottish descent.

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

No cross is more closely associated with a people and a country as is the Celtic cross is with Ireland. The cross itself has a very long history that predates Christianity. The Celtic cross has pagan origins—some say representing the moon goddess. Others believe that the crossbeams of the cross symbolize the male while the circle represents the female. When Christianity spread throughout the Emerald Island, the Christians adopted the Celtic cross as their expression of the cross.

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

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2 Responses to The Celtic Cross

  1. Sarah McKinzie says:

    Looking forward to seeing many of these on our trip to Ireland in September!

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