Whether wreaths and posies, bouquets and standing sprays or letter-shaped tributes that travel with the coffin, floral arrangements are a regular and traditional part of funerals in the UK and around the world.
Why do people send flowers to funerals?
Mourners have been bringing flowers to funerals since time immemorial. Ancient civilisations held religious ceremonies using natural plants, herbs and flowers to anoint the body of the deceased prior to burial, with fragrant floral decorations covering the burial area.
In modern times, flowers help to comfort those grieving by showing the love that surrounded the deceased, highlighting what made them special, and representing the eternity that will hold their memory. Flowers also symbolise the naturalistic, ‘return to earth’ that we like to believe in when someone dies, as we bury our loved ones in the garden-like green of a cemetery. This becomes even truer in Green Burials. Floral Arrangements differ in Green Burials in comparison to Traditional Funerals due to the materials used. As Green Burials are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional funerals they use biodegradable materials such as raffia ribbons, paper wrappings and biodegradable Oasis. However, to truly understand Green Burials you can find a blog about it here.
What does each flower mean?
Choosing the right flowers for an occasion comes down to personal preference however different flowers have historically had certain meanings associated with them:
- Lilies – The most popular funeral flowers, the sweet aroma of lilies has long been associated with the virginal purity of the soul returning to innocence, back to where we all started. The white stargazer lily is the most popular of all, a variation that represents sympathy and empathy.
- Roses – They most symbolise love, unsurprisingly. The meaning can vary depending on the colours you choose.
Red roses (particularly a single one) mean everlasting and enduring love, while deep red or crimson roses hint at a love rooted in deep grief. Pink roses represent elegance, gentility and a certain grace. White roses symbolise eternal youth and innocence, as well as having a deep spiritual meaning.
- Carnations – The word itself represents the ‘incarnation’ of a higher being, and these long-lasting flowers symbolise remembrance, affection and devotion. In Christianity, pink carnations are said to symbolise the tears of the Virgin Mary.
- Orchids – Similar to carnations, these long-lasting flowers denote a love that has no end.
- Chrysanthemums – These are hugely popular and have different meanings in different parts of the world. In Europe and the US, they represent a positive feeling, thanking the deceased for their long life of morality and honesty. In Asia they have a more mournful tone of wishing for a rebirth of the soul.
- Yellow Tulips and Daffodils – These bright and vibrant flowers are the first blossoms of spring and can help emphasise positivity and fresh starts, and bring comfort and hope to the mourners who may be going through a particularly traumatic time.
Funeral flowers etiquette
You don’t have to send flowers to the funeral itself – in fact, in many cultures it’s better to wait. In any case, the family have so much to deal with in the immediate event and aftermath of a death and funeral that they may appreciate the love, affection and sympathy of a floral tribute a short time afterwards.
What about religious floral variations?
Cultural and faith differences mean that there are a few things worth bearing in mind to avoid causing upset or embarrassment. Most variations of Christianity welcome all kinds of flower arrangements, though burials in the Mormon faith should avoid the shape of a cross. Avoid flowers for Jewish funerals or the seven days after it, as the mourning period (the Shiva) is considered a solemn time. With Buddhist funeral ceremonies, it is customary to send white flowers to the family – definitely not red flowers. Hindu funerals emphasise garlands and seasonal floral sprays but mourners should not bring flowers, while with Islamic funerals it is best to consult the family or a religious leader to see what is considered appropriate.
Plan ahead with prepaid funeral planning
When you factor in the cost of flowers, professional services and other extras to the basic cost of a funeral, the cost of dying is now at an average of £8,802 – up 8.3% since last year.
Funeral directors can often help you plan your floral tribute, and ensure they are delivered to the funeral or the mourner’s home. Having a pre-paid funeral plan can benefit everyone involved, and provide peace of mind to make a difficult situation that bit easier when the time comes. If you’re looking to arrange a prepaid funeral plan please feel free to fill out our quote form.
If you have any further questions or concerns Direct Funeral are available 24/7 for when you need us the most.
(Credit goes to The Telegraph for the blog)