The Language of Funeral Flowers

by MSO
Some religions only prefer certain colors of funeral flowers while others traditionally don"t use flowers during the funeral ceremony.

Most religions appreciate the gift of flowers at a funeral however there are some exceptions.

Flowers have been a traditional funeral gift for millennia, there’s even evidence that Neanderthal people buried their dead with flowers more than 60,000 years ago.

Not only are flowers beautiful but they have a language all of their own. They are a symbol of life and they are  a gift that lets people know that you are thinking about them. Each flower variety and every color all have special symbolic meanings. Every religion and culture welcomes flowers into their ceremonies however there are some rituals, such as funerals, where only certain types or colors are appreciated.

Flowers come in numerous arrangements but traditionally casket sprays, wreaths and swag styles are typically chosen by immediate family and are positioned on or near the casket or urn. Other family members, friends and business associates can choose from bouquets, standing sprays, live plants and more which will be placed around the casket or urn. If you are unsure of the protocol involved in sending flowers to a funeral ask the funeral home before ordering, they will know what the family would like.

At both Catholic and Protestant Christian funerals most flowers and arrangements are acceptable to send. Some exceptions are the Mormon religion where arrangements with crosses or crucifixes are not appropriate because in Mormon religion the cross symbolizes a dying Christ and the message Mormons prefer is that Christ is a living entity.

Most types and arrangements of flowers are appreciated at Buddhist funerals however avoid red colored flowers for a Chinese Buddhist funeral and Korean Buddhists prefer white or pale yellow.

In the Eastern and Greek Orthodox tradition flowers and arrangements are accepted but white flowers are preferable as that color is believed to show respect for the departed.

For Jewish funerals, flowers can be sent to a family’s home but flowers are not part of a Jewish funeral service because the belief is that rich and poor should be buried alike and a rich person would have more flowers which would highlight the disparity between classes. Likewise flowers are not used to adorn grave sites either. Today however, some of the more liberal Jews do appreciate the gift of flowers.

Flowers are acceptable at Baha’i funerals but timing matters as most Baha’i funerals take place within 24 hours of the death. Garlands and shapes such as hearts are more popular than standard arrangements.

Traditionally flowers are not commonly sent to the home or funeral home where the body is laid out at a Hindu funeral but they are gracefully accepted. White is the most common color for flowers although red, yellow and brown are also used.

Whether to send flowers for a Muslim funeral can vary. Some branches of the religion accept flowers while others prefer that flowers aren’t used. It is best to contact a family member or the funeral home before making your decision.

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