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Grove St Cemetery - Mischievous March - Our Celtic Crosses

Cheers To All!!

The month of March can be a time of mischievous weather. It is a month where we are witnessing the last of the winter season and then the first signs of spring. Where there are great winds at times and then soft spring breezes coming about in this month. But this is the month of the Irish celebration of St. Patrick's Day and so within the cemetery there are Celtic Crosses for viewing.

In Victorian times and carrying-on into the Gilded Age, March offered maple-sugaring parties, then St. Patrick's Day Celebrations, with fairy wayside jaunts of finding new flowerings, or children planting their own special gardens, with the making of pussy willow wreaths and finally the making of Easter baskets. There were scents from the kitchens of Irish families of Colcannon and the savoring flavor of Irish Soda bread. Still by the fireside on March evenings,  the literature of the Gilded Age was of Peter Pan and Wendy by Sir James M Barrie (1911), or we  might be reading this book The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911).

But getting on with Grove Street Cemetery, not just in March but all year, the cemetery hosts monumental structures of Celtic Crosses. The Celtic Cross is a very distinct piece of funerary art. The Cross is considered a most effervescent of all crosses to be found anywhere. They are embellished with lovely and intricate tracery and froth with ancient symbolism of the Celt people. The basic form of the Celtic cross is a cross form enclosed with a nimbus (circle). The cross has its origins as far back as 10,000 years ago with the Pagan funeral rites. As the cross became Christian, it lost the symbolism of the Goddess rites but was still strongly tied to the Mother Earth and very much part of national pride. Just as a brief description of the cross, the four arms correspond to the four elements of Earth - Wind - Fire - Water. Yet in some areas the Celtic cross takes the four arms representing the fours provinces of Ireland and the nimbus creates a fifth province by incorporating all the other four provinces

Just as a point of interest - in a churchyard of Coniston, Cumbria, England, there stands the memorial cross of the famous author John Ruskin (1819-1900). What makes this cross unique it there is no nimbus but the cross has the life of Ruskin chiseled into the cross on all four sides using only symbols. It is breath-taking to be assured.

However, please come to walk about to witness our lovely crosses. If there is an interest to have a guided tour as such, please call me at 203.389.5403, or email any time


All the best,

Patricia Illingworth

Chief Docent





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