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Types of flowers commonly used for funerals

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Sandra Jones

Owner of Sans Flowers

The Best Flowers for Funerals: Traditional and Sympathetic Choices

At the crossroads of grief and bereavement, flowers offer a language more powerful than words. They provide comfort, communicate compassion and symbolise the impermanence of life. Welcome to our guide on “The Best Flowers for Funerals: Traditional and Sympathetic Choices”. Whether you’re seeking to soothe a sorrowing soul or honour a loved one’s memory with profound respect, we will walk you through an assortment of floral expressions that resonate with these delicate sentiments. Delve in as we navigate the fragrant alleys of tradition, meaning, and etiquette in the world of funeral flowers.

In funeral arrangements, some of the common types of flowers that are often used include lilies, roses, orchids, chrysanthemums, carnations, hyacinths, and hydrangeas. These flowers carry different meanings and symbolism, such as purity (lilies), spirituality (white roses), love (red roses), and sympathy (chrysanthemums). It’s important to consult with a florist who specialises in funeral arrangements to select flowers that best honour the deceased and provide comfort to the grieving loved ones.

Traditional Choices for Funeral Flowers

Flowers play an essential role in funerary customs, offering solace and comfort to grieving families. The history of traditional funeral flowers dates back many decades, and while modern selections have increased in recent years, time-honoured choices remain popular. Some examples of the most traditional options include roses, lilies, carnations, and chrysanthemums (mums). These blooms each have their unique significance and are selected based on the bereaved family’s preferences.

For instance, a deep red rose conveys love and grief when displayed at a funeral. Similarly, white lilies symbolise purity and innocence and offer hope to loved ones that the deceased has transitioned to a better world.

Ultimately, traditional funeral flowers will continue to be embraced by people from various cultures worldwide because these flowers provide an extra layer of comfort during times of immense sadness.

Did you know?

Lilies are highly regarded as a symbol of purity and innocence in funeral traditions, often chosen to represent the restoration of the soul of the departed to a state of innocence​​​​. [R] 

Lilies: Symbol of the Soul's Radiance

Lilies have long been associated with special occasions and cultural celebrations globally. In the context of funerals, lilies are often chosen for their connexion to spiritual renewal and purity. The Madonna Lily species is especially significant within Christian funeral traditions. According to legend, this pure-white flower grew from the tears the Virgin Mary shed at Jesus’ crucifixion.

While lilies are available in different colours like yellow, orange or pink; white stargazer and white Asiatic varieties are usually preferred as sympathy flowers given their universal symbolism.

White lilies are further believed to represent the radiance of souls leaving earthly bonds for a higher realm of consciousness. They offer an excellent way to honour someone who lived life selflessly yet profoundly impacted those they loved.

Although an elegant choice for condolence arrangements or bouquets, lilies may not be appropriate for all funerals. Funeral customs vary by region, culture, religion and even personal preference; it’s crucial to consider which flowers are the most suitable based on these factors.

With that in mind, let’s venture into other popular flower choices often present at funerals.

FlowerColourSymbolism
LiliesWhitePurity, innocence, radiance of soul
RosesWhiteSpirituality, purity, and innocence
 Deep RedLove and grief
ChrysanthemumsWhiteInnocence
 RedLove
CarnationsRedAffection
 WhiteInnocence
 PinkRemembrances of the Virgin Mary’s tears

While lilies represent the purity and radiance of passing souls, let’s not forget other popular funeral flowers that carry different significance. For the #1 option for Tribute Flowers in Swansea please click the button below.

Roses: Colour and Significance

When it comes to funeral flowers, roses hold significant power. Known for their beauty and elegance, roses are appropriate for any occasion, whether it be joyous or sorrowful. A symbol of love, the rose is a popular choice at funeral services. Depending on the colour, the meaning of the rose varies.

Red roses symbolise love and respect and are a beautiful way to pay homage to your loved ones. White roses are a symbol of purity, reverence, and spirituality, making them an excellent choice for funeral services held in religious places. Pink roses have several meanings – grace, admiration, appreciation – but it depends on the shade. Select dark pink roses if you wish to express your gratitude to the person who has passed away. On the other hand, light pink roses represent sympathy that you offer to the family or friends.

It’s important to remember that different cultures often have varied interpretations of rose colours at funerals. For instance, in some Asian countries such as China and Japan, white roses signify death and mourning.

If you’re considering sending roses as a sympathy arrangement, choose blooms that have meaning to honour your loved one’s life or culture.

Ultimately, It is always best to research the meaning of specific rose colours before deciding which type of floral arrangement will be appropriate.

Carnations: Tears of the Virgin Mary

Carnations are popular flowers for funerals, and it’s not difficult to understand why. These beautiful blooms have been linked to mourning for centuries and were originally used by the Greeks to honour their ancestors. The meaning behind carnations’ symbolism as funeral flowers is steeped in religious history, with some believing they were formed from the tears of the Virgin Mary when she saw her son’s suffering.

Red carnations symbolise love, while white embodies innocence, making them versatile choices for funeral services and memorial gardens. It is their association with the grieving Mary that makes them a poignant choice when paying respects to someone who has passed away. They often feature prominently in wreaths and sprays but can also be seen in a bouquet along with other delicate flowers.

In modern times, florists create personalised tributes using specific flowers, including carnations that reflect the personality or interest of the deceased.

For instance, suppose your loved one was a passionate sports fan. In that case, you could request a bouquet that includes red and white carnations styled in the form of their favourite team’s logo. This personal tribute can be an excellent way to commemorate their life while offering comfort during this difficult time.

Sympathetic Choices

Funeral flowers offer sympathy and represent respect for the deceased and their loved ones. Besides traditional options like lilies, roses, orchids, and chrysanthemums, there are also other sympathetic choices worth considering.

Chrysanthemums: Symbols of Sympathy and Honour

Chrysanthemums, also known as “Mums,” have different meanings and interpretations globally. In America and Europe, these flowers are renowned symbols of sympathy and honour, while in Asia, they’re viewed more positively and represent joy, happiness, and longevity. Despite their global symbolism variances, sending mums to grieving families is considered appropriate.

With its vast range of colours, each chrysanthemum colour also conveys unique significance. White mums represent innocent love and truth; red ones evoke passion and deep emotions and are often used in funeral wreaths or arrangements. Bronze-coloured chrysanthemums symbolise both wealth and positivism, while gold mums stand for good luck.

If you’re thinking of honouring the recently departed with chrysanthemums, it’s essential to understand that their meanings vary across cultures. In some Asian countries like China and Japan, even-numbered flowers signal death and are thus only used for mourning.

Think of it as offering your condolences in a respectful manner – you want to convey emotions of sympathy and comfort without being insensitive or inappropriate.

Personalised Tributes in Floral Arrangements

The trend toward personalised tributes in funeral flower arrangements has grown significantly over the years. Families are now opting for bespoke tribute pieces featuring symbols that represent the deceased’s hobbies, profession, or pastime.

For example, a firefighter’s funeral might feature a wreath in the shape of a firefighter’s helmet using yellow chrysanthemums to represent his bravery. Similarly, a passionate gardener’s tribute might consist of plants native to his home with bug-like accents representing insects he enjoyed studying.

When paying your respects through flowers, sending arrangements personalised to reflect the life of the deceased is meaningful and memorable for those mourning survivors. This is an opportunity to tell stories about their lives as told through the lens of their favourite flowers and show how much you value their memory.

For all your funeral tributes, please call our team on 01792865713

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