An old Ozark superstition says that when any cedar tree which you planted grows tall enough to shade your grave, you will die. So commonly has cedar been planted as ornamental in cemeteries, it is sometimes called graveyard tree.
Many of the cedar trees found in North America were mistakenly classed cypresses, and cypress has been associated with grieving since the times of the ancient Greeks. There was a legend that the Greek Cyparissus accidentally killed a stag which had been his friend and companion, and prayed to Apollo that he might grieve forever, and was turned into the tree. Aside from that, because of the wood's resistance to corruption and the strong, spicy smell when it is burned, both cypresses and cedars have been used to build coffins or funeral pyres for the great and powerful, not just in the cultures around the Mediterranean, but throughout Asia as well. The trees were sometimes used to build the gates to temples, as their wood was said to guard the passage between life and death.
I found this explanation also:
The majesty and glory enjoyed by the cedar tree is of biblical proportions, figuratively and literally speaking. No other tree type has been mentioned in such high regards in the Holy Scripture than cedar family.
The cedar tree was described in the Book of Ezekiel as the only tree that could sustain the Israelites as they travel through the desert. In many instances in the bible, this tree type was also used as a symbol for prosperity, what with its long life and elegant growth.
The tree wasn't mentioned in the Book of Revelations, though such might as well have been so since many millenniums after its first mention in the bible, the cedar tree remains as enchantingly marvelous as it was when it was first observed in human history.
Shaped like a cone with rich, dark green foliage, cedars are often observed in cemeteries in this day and age. There is an underlying reason for this, something which is more than the aesthetic merits of the elegance that cedars can provide.
Native Americans held strong beliefs about the cedar tree. Cherokee legends tell of a time, during the beginning of existence, when people prayed to the gods that night be taken away so that they could enjoy perpetual day. The gods obliged. Soon enough, the people realized the terrible evil they have prayed for, as many members of their rank suffered, and even died, due to the ceaseless heat brought about by perpetual day. They pleaded to the gods once more, begging to return things to the way they are. After a few years, the gods obliged once again, only this time, the gods left something on earth to remind the people of that chapter... the cedar tree. Hence, ever since, the Cherokees believed that cedars contained powerful spirits, namely, the spirits of the departed whom they should never forget.
This is the reason why this tree type is also used as a symbol for death. Ever watched Six Feet Under? Notice that the opening credits picture a cedar tree above a grave.
Harmonizing the biblical mentions of the tree type, that which makes it a symbol of prosperity, with local folklore that associates it with death, we can say that cedars are also representative of the duality of life. We may prosper while we are alive, but once we leave this plane of existence, all is not lost. We can also leave memories behind, memories which may help other people prosper as well.
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