The Lily Cross is simply a cross decorated with lilies (usually white arum lilies). It is used mainly for Easter celebrations and funerals, and therefore sometimes known as the Easter Cross, Paschal Cross or Funeral Cross.
For a respectable period after a funeral, a Mourning Cross pendant or broach is sometimes worn by the bereaved. This is usually a simple black Latin Cross made of polished onyx or jet.
The Funeral Cross differs from the Death Cross which is a financial markets term to describe a crossover resulting from a security's long-term moving average breaking above its short-term moving average or support level.
But the lily is not only a funeral flower; it is also used for decorations at weddings, especially in bouquets, and at Easter.
In Christian art the lily represents purity, chastity, virtue and innocence. In pictures of the Annunciation, Gabriel sometimes carries a lily-branch, while a vase containing a lily stands before the Virgin Mary who is kneeling in prayer. St. Joseph holds a lily-branch in his hand to show that his wife Mary was a virgin.
Legend tells that the lily sprang from the repentant tears of Eve as she went forth from the Garden of Eden, and the white lily is also used to symbolise the Resurrection of Christ. It is used at funerals to symbolise the restoration of innocence to the soul.
A folklore belief is that planting lilies in a garden will protect against ghosts and evil spirits. Bringing it inside, however, is unlucky because of its association with death and funerals. Even so, it is popular as a wedding bouquet, especially the arum lily, since this symbolises beauty and pride.
Different coloured lilies also have different meanings:
- pink for talent
- yellow for falsehood and gaiety
- white for purity, modesty and youthful innocence
In heraldry, a cross is sometimes referred to as a Lily Cross when a more appropriate term would be a Fleur-de-lis Cross. This is common in French heraldry and is simply a cross adorned with lily petals at the arm-ends. The confusion arises from the word lis, which is French for lily.
Dedicated to the author's mother, who died a few weeks after this Lily Cross page was added to this website and who's name, coincidentally, was Lily.
Your work here is done, Mum.
Rest in peaceful knowledge that we will follow your lead in loving our neighbours, as it says in Matt. 22:37-39.