symbols of death

9 Symbols of Death & Mourning In You Probably Never Heard Before

Humans will face death sooner and later, regardless of you are rich or poor, tall or short. Yet, we always feel uncomfortable when seeing anything associated with death. Three main groups symbolize death: animals, plants/flowers and objects.

How many symbols of death do you know? You might have seen them in your surroundings, TV shows and movies. Look around, and you will be surprised by this list of symbols of death and mourning in this article.

Animals Associated with Death

We have always seen animals in two perspectives: the auspicious ones that bring good luck and the dark side of negativity. Many people love the crane, a symbol of longevity, the elephant, turtle, horse and many others. But there is another group that portrays the negative side of the story.

1. Black Cat

A black cat is typically associated with bad luck, sinister, sadness and death in Western and Eastern cultures. In western belief, you will get bad luck if you encounter a black cat crossing your path. However, the Chinese people believe the corpse will become alive if the black cat jumps over the coffin. Therefore, it is common to see family members guarding by the coffin to prevent such incidents.

2. Moth

In the Chinese tradition, people believe that moths are the spirits of your dead family members. So leave it alone instead of killing it, especially during seven days of mourning or the Qing Ming Festival.

3. Bats

Bats have a bad reputation, and people widely criticized them for spreading illness and diseases. Therefore it is regarded as a sign of sickness or death whenever you see a bat. However, there is another belief where the Chinese see it as a symbol of prosperity because the Chinese bat character sounds like “Fu”, meaning good fortune. That is why you can see this symbol in many Feng Shui ornaments and oriental furniture.

symbols of death bat


4. Crows

Specific bird has hidden meanings and symbolism in different parts of the world. Seeing crows, in particular, gives people a bad omen that misfortune is lurking around. It might be because you can always see crows feeding on dead bodies of other animals or even their own. So this scene will send a chill down your spine.

Flowers Associated with Death and Mourning

Many people use flowers to beautify their homes, especially those with auspicious meanings. But, apart from this purpose, we also use flowers to mourn for the loved ones who have passed on. Therefore, knowing the intentions and significance is essential to avoid giving the wrong flowers.

5. Frangipani Flowers

Have you heard about supernatural stories or even experienced yourself after encountering an overwhelming fragrance of Frangipani flowers? These stories might be why it is associated with the dead since it attracts the spirit.

6. Black Roses

Red is always associated with auspicious meanings in Chinese culture, while Black symbolizes death and mourning. Therefore, people usually use it for sending their support to the grieving party.

The Black rose not only symbolizes death, but it also stands for hatred and the end of a romantic relationship. So send a red rose instead.

symbols of death black rose


Objects That Symbolize Death

If you observe the happening around you, you might have noticed that particular objects hint at death or illness.

7. Clocks

The Chinese believed that gifting a clock (送钟) sounds like the Chinese phrase for “attending a funeral.” Thus it is bad luck to give a clock/watch as a present to your friends and loved ones. In addition, clocks also symbolize running out of time, so if you have a spoilt one, it might mean that death is around the corner. Replace it immediately.

8. The Number Four

The Chinese regarded the number four as unlucky and shunned it like a plague because the word sounds a lot like “death”. As a result, you can see many buildings in Asian countries without a fourth floor. Likewise, the Chinese people will avoid having their car plates and mobile phone numbers ending in four.

9. Skeleton Skull

The skeleton is a symbolic representation of death and danger that you should not use as home decor. Instead, in Feng Shui, we should fill our house with living things, like plants and objects of positivity, to encourage good energy.




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Traditions & Culture9 Symbols of Death & Mourning In You Probably Never Heard Before