Flowers are a Part of the Cycle of Lifeby A-Badgero
Having flowers present at a funeral service is an ancient tradition that has been practised around the world for centuries. Archaeologists have discovered evidence that suggests that even early man had rituals for death. Human remains were found in a cave dating back over 50,000 years ago yet the body was accompanied with food ochre and flower petals.
Flowers can create an atmosphere that is beautiful and welcoming making their presence at a funeral service comforting for family and friends. The sweet scent of flowers can remind the living of the richness of life while honoring a memory.
Many cultures draw a connection between flowers and life and death, they are freshly birthed in the spring and fade, quickly wilting when the winter comes only to return in the next spring. Because of their seasonal return flowers also suggest a period of rebirth after death which is the underlying reason many place them upon graves. The life of a flower ends the moment it is picked similar to how life ends at death and is a subtle reminder of how short life is.
To express their reverence for the dead the Greeks would place a crown of flowers on the head of the deceased as well as cover the tomb with wreaths and flower petals. High ranking women in Egypt would wear a floral headdress and necklace upon their death as representations of renewal and a joyful afterlife.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition where they celebrate the dead, flowers play an important role in this celebration. Marigold petals adorn altars and are also scattered on the bed of the deceased as this is considered the final resting place and is highly revered. Aztec communities also use marigold petals scattered on altars as a means to help the deceased find their way back to this world. It is an Aztec belief that death is part of the cycle of life and this cycle is not completed until you return back to the earth and do so with the assistance of living friends and family giving flower offerings.
Funerary flowers are offered in a variety of different arrangements that are meant for different purposes.
Funeral baskets or dish gardens are simply flower and plant arrangements done within a container most likely a wicker basket, porcelain planter or nice vase.
Flowers arranged in a circular fashion creating a ring are referred to as a wreath. The circular shape of the wreath is meant to be symbolic of eternal life, however wreaths can come in different shapes such as crosses and hearts. They will typically be displayed on an easel in a prominent position during a funeral then placed on the grave afterwards.
A spray is essentially a branch bearing flowers and often some sort of decorative pieces. Some are made to be placed on an easel in an upright position while others are meant specifically for being placed atop the casket or a grave.
Flowers are used as a visual expressions of love, sympathy and respect. When we lose somebody we love we want a way to display our sadness and the love and respect we had for that person, flowers are a simple and beautiful way to demonstrate your feelings.