Why Do People Leave Coins On Grave Headstones?
There are many meanings to leaving a coin at a gravestone, from ancient traditions, to getting to heaven, to showing respect to a military person.
A long time ago, the Greeks believed you needed money to pay Charon. He was the ferryman that would bring people across the river to heaven and you to pay him or bribe him to get on the ferry. According to Join Cake, people would leave coins for the dead to get to heaven. It's called Charon's Obol. Charon's Bribe
After the Vietnam war, it was a down payment to a family member, friend, or buddy in the military to buy a drink or a beer for them when that person joined them in death. There were also things called “challenge coins.” Join Cake says challenge coin is a coin with the emblem of the deceased’s military company or unit. Fellow soldiers from the same infantry would leave them.
One of the biggest is that person was a vet. One of the biggest ways to show respect and to leave a message. Like a certain colored rose has meaning, the denomination of the coin has meaning. Wide Open Country says these are the meanings:
- Penny - A penny at the gravesite means you visited. You have no formal relationship with the deceased, but you honor their service and their family.
- Nickel - A nickel is left if you and the deceased person trained at boot camp together.
- Dime - In the case of a dime, you served with the deceased person in some capacity.
- Quarter - Finally, a quarter indicates you were with the deceased when he or she died.
Knowing this, I will start leaving coins on some graves. I do have friends that have lost their lives either in service or after serving. I like the fact they mean respect.