Flowers are a common addition to funeral services. They are often provided or purchased from a funeral home, but it is also common for funeral guests to bring flowers for the deceased person and their family. It can be challenging to choose the right type and colour with all the flower options available. This article will discuss which flowers are ideal for use at funerals.
The exact origin of using flowers at a funeral is unknown. However, the tradtion might date back to as far as 62,000 B.C. This is based on research by Dr. Ralph Solecki in 1951. During Solecki's excavations in the Shanidar Cave in Northern Iraq, he discovered pollen and flower fragments at burial sites. He determined that these were likely placed deliberately at the burial site.
Another significant example of flower use at a funeral dates back to 1874, after the death of President Andrew Johnson. His body was not embalmed and was in a less than favourable condition at his funeral, so the casket was closed, and fragrant flowers were placed on top to help hide the odour.
Also in the 19th century, a “flower lady” role was incorporated into funeral practices. The flower lady had a similar function to a pallbearer. However, instead of carrying the casket throughout the funeral and procession, she would carry flowers. This role was considered significant, and flower ladies were appointed with care and consideration.
Today, using flowers to conceal the odour of a body is no longer a concern given modern preservation technologies.
Instead, flowers are used more for symbolism and expression. For many, flowers serve as a way for loved ones to express their love and support towards the deceased and their grieving loved ones.
Flowers can also serve as a way to remember the deceased by picking a flower or flower colour that was significant to them.
Flowers also add beauty, warmth, and brightness to a space. Surrounding grieving loved ones with beautiful colours and lovely scents can help brighten up an otherwise dark or depressing time. Regardless of the use and symbolism of flowers, they have become a staple at most funeral services.
Whether you are purchasing flowers for a funeral or would like to send flowers to a grieving family, there are some things to consider. The two most prominent ones are colour and type.
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Different flower colours have different meanings and significance. Below is a list of some of those meanings.
In addition to flower colours, a few flower types are commonly used at funerals that have different meanings and significance. These include:
The primary purpose of the funeral flowers is to remember and honour the deceased in some manner. The symbolism of flower colour and type can be a great tool to help family and friends convey and express their feelings towards the deceased. However, this does not need to be the deciding factor for flower choice.
Picking out flowers is a personal task, and the most significant consideration in that choice should be your intention. Flower symbolism can serve as a guideline, but the choice is ultimately up to you.
Learn more with our funeral flower arrangements guide. You can also ask a question about funerals, cremation or end-of-life choices of our experts at Eirene via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to contact us.