Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The History Behind Our Easter Holidays

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are so called moveable feasts, because they do not fall on a fixed date on the calendar. Instead, the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea of the Catholic Church (325 AD) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is March 21st when the "full moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date.

In Western Christianity, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25th or within appx. seven days after the astronomical full moon. The following day, often referred to as Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions.

The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. Easter is linked to the Passover through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection. According to the New Testament, Jesus prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper. He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed for Christ (the Passover lamb).

One interpretation of the Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were slain in the temple. Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. It is sometimes referred to as the greatest feast for which Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter. The order of Sundays from Septuagesima; to the last Sunday after Pentecost; from the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden; to the feast of the Sacred Heart; all depend upon the Easter date. It is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, as old as Christianity, and can also be considered one of the best links between the Old and New Testaments.

Monday, March 31, 2014

What is a Memorial Obelisk?

Obelisks are defined as tapered, four-sided pillars. Originally erected in pairs at the entrances to ancient Egyptian temples, they were carved from a single piece of stone, usually granite, and embellished with hieroglyphics. They had wide rectangular bases with pyramidal tops, and were often more than 100 ft tall!

These were originally called tekhenu by the Ancient Egyptians. The Greeks who saw them used the term obeliskos to describe them, and this word passed into Latin and then into English. Ancient obelisks were often monolithic, whereas most modern obelisks are made of several stones and can even contain interior spaces.

A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. In architecture, the term may be used in the contexts of rock-cut architecture that remains attached to solid rock or for exceptionally large stones such as obelisks, that may have been moved a considerable distance after quarrying.

A number of ancient Egyptian obelisks are known to still survive. Many of these obelisks are now dispersed around the world, and fewer than half of them remain in Egypt; with Rome now considered the obelisk capital of the world. The most well-known Roman obelisk is the 82 ft, 331-ton obelisk at Saint Peter's Square in Rome. This particular obelisk had stood since AD 37 on its site next to St Peter's Basilica.

The obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra, and was said to have been a petrified ray of the Aten or sundisk. It was also thought that this god existed within the structure. Obelisk monuments are also known from the Assyrian civilization, where they were erected as public monuments that commemorated events and achievements. Today they are utilized throughout cemeteries to memorialize and honor the deceased. The most popular granite colors are gray and black; sandblasted designs and epitaphs are used to decorate the gray obelisks, while laser etching works great for black.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Options for Your Granite Memorial

You've chosen your monument design, picked out the granite color and decided what size your monument should be. The next step is to design what your memorial will look like, including family name, birth and death dates, design components, and any verses/sayings/epitaphs that you may want on your headstone.

Once these "basics" are covered, you can get creative, choosing to add small or large statuary or maybe something simpler like a vase. Adding one or two vases to your design often requires lengthening the base of the monument. Many manufacturers provide round and square granite vases in the same granite colors offered in their monument designs. And don't be afraid to ask for vases in a contrasting or coordinating (but not matching) granite color, so the memorial is unique and even further personalized.

Talk with your counselor about all of the options available, such as laser etched scenes, beautifully detailed ceramic portraits, cremation holes, etc. Color can be added by selecting a colored litho for the lettering, or ask about hand coloring your laser etched scene. And don't forget about the back of your monument. You can literally DOUBLE the space for personalization!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Personal Cremation Options

For many who choose cremation, the option of a cremation garden or large public columbarium does not fit the image of their final resting place.

Many people choose a more personal memorial that can be set on their existing cemetery property, or placed on private land, usually belonging to family. They are looking for a more private way to contain their ashes after cremation.

Cremation memorials offer different options of personalization, memorialization and final placement.  There are actually more memorialization options for cremation than there are for burial.  With some research, and with the help of your funeral professional, you will be surprised at the number of choices that are available to you.

Few things help in the healing process more than a meaningful ceremony. You may desire a funeral or memorial service at the funeral home or a place of worship before or after cremation. Burying an urn in a cemetery remains a popular choice for many families.  It provides a permanent resting place where generations of families and friends can visit.  When choosing burial, an urn vault is generally required by the cemetery. These urns can be personalized as well as the actual memorial that holds the urn(s). The choices range from traditional style monuments, to pedestals-often customized to reflect the life of the departed (dolphins, golfing, firefighting, etc.). Many benches are also available in either stock or customer created designs. Granite is so versatile that it allows you to create the perfect memorial from what simply begins as "rock'.

Contact Eagle to discuss designing your personal cremation memorial, pedestal or cremation bench today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Comforting Angel Monuments

For thousands of years, the angel has been thought of as a supernatural being or spirit, often depicted in human form with wings and halos around their head. In certain religions they are also depicted as celestial beings who act as intermediaries between Heaven and Earth, or as guardian spirits or a guiding influence. Angels are also thought to protect and guide humans, and carry out God's work.

Throughout history, even Churches defined different categories of angels, with appropriate missions and activities assigned to each one. There are also two distinct beliefs that angels have physical bodies or that they are entirely spiritual/energy/light. 

Most angel monuments depict a praying or weeping angel to express grief, loss and mourning for the deceased. They are meant to honor the death of a loved one, while helping to comfort the living. They also serve the dual purpose of helping to protect the deceased, while also guiding them through the afterlife.

A recent study showed that many people today have had an experience of what they may have thought to be an angel presence. These types of experiences range from visions, sometimes with multiple witnesses present or conveying a warning; to a sense of being touched, pushed, or lifted, typically to avert a dangerous situation; or even a pleasant fragrance or familiar scent, generally in the context of someone's death. In the visual experiences, the angels described appear in various forms, either the "classical" one (human countenance with wings), in the form of extraordinarily illuminated human or as visions of light.

For more information on any of our granite angel monuments and memorials, please contact our sales manager at

Monday, December 16, 2013

Granite Hardscape Honors Veterans

Earlier this year, the Atlanta History Center dedicated its newly expanded Veterans Park. Organizers scattered soil that came from battlefields around the world. Eagle Granite was commissioned to create 6 large granite seals to be installed in the new park, including one to house the time capsule protecting this very special soil.

The soil was gathered from every American battlefield, from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan. They also included sands from Iwo Jima, desert sand from Iraq, battlefields from the South Pacific, and even small pieces of the Berlin Wall. Soil was also gathered from battlefield sites of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Iraq and Afghanistan. They also included soil from Arlington National Cemetery.

One third of the soil is buried in a stainless steel capsule under an 8 foot round granite seal of the United States. Another third was scattered during the Memorial Day ceremony, and the rest will be kept at the History Center. The granite seal of the United States is 4 inches thick and was carved and lettered at the Eagle Granite manufacturing plant in Elberton.

There are also five more granite seals that measure 6 feet in diameter. They are also 4 inches thick and were manufactured along with the 8 ft. US Medallion at Eagle Granite. These 5 medallions represent the five service branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard and are embedded throughout the park’s concrete walkways. All 6 granite civic memorial emblems were manufactured from Blue Ridge Granite, provided by Eagle Granite’s quarry located in Northeast Georgia.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Brief History of the Cross

The cross has been used by many religions, but most notably in Christianity. It is a representation of the division of the world into four elements (also called cardinal points) or the union of the concepts of divinity (the vertical line) and the world (the horizontal line). The word derives from the Latin word "crux" a Roman torture device used for crucifixion. The word was introduced to the English in the 10th century - in the execution of Jesus.

It is not known when the first cross image was made. Many cross-shaped cave drawings have been discovered, dating back to the earliest times of human development. Their use can be traced throughout Celtic and Germanic cultures in Europe. Celtic coins minted many centuries before the Christian era had an entire side showing the cross symbol, sometimes with the cardinal points marked by concave depressions. Other coins depicted the cross with a fern leaf, held by a rider on a horse, often referred to as a Tree of Life symbol.

During the first two centuries of Christianity, the cross was rarely seen, as it depicted a gruesome method of public execution. A symbol similar to the cross, the staurogram, was used to abbreviate the Greek word for cross in very early New Testament manuscripts. The extensive adoption of the cross as Christian iconographic symbol began to arise again towards the 4th century. Interestingly enough, the symbol of the crucifix, a cross upon which an image of Christ is present, is not known to have been used until the 6th century AD.

In contemporary Christianity, the cross is a symbol of the atonement and reminds Christians of God's love in sacrificing his own son for humanity. It represents Jesus' victory over sin and death, since it is believed that through his death and resurrection he conquered death itself. Throughout the centuries, other symbolic carvings and patterns have been added as embellishments to the cross itself.