What to consider when selecting funeral flowers for different cultures and traditions?

When someone passes away, sending funeral flowers is a thoughtful way to show your support for the grieving family. Flowers provide comfort and hope during a difficult time. Not all cultures and faiths share the same traditions, when it comes to funeral flowers. What may be perfectly appropriate for one family could be seen as inappropriate or even offensive by another. That’s why it’s important to learn about cultural traditions and customs before selecting funeral flowers.

Research cultural traditions

The best thing you do is research cultural traditions around death and funerals. Some numerous customs and rituals revolve around flowers.

  1. For instance, in many Asian cultures, white flowers represent death. Sending a large bouquet of brightly colored blooms would be seen as inappropriate.
  2. In the Hindu religion, structures made from banana leaves and flowers called Kalash are used during funeral rites. Marigold garlands are often placed around the deceased as well.
  3. People of the Jewish faith often avoid sending flowers altogether. Greenery and plants are common for Shiva, the seven-day mourning period after the funeral.

Consider the significance of colors

The symbolism of flower colors also varies between cultures. Here are some common associations.

  • White flowers indicate purity, innocence, and sympathy in Western cultures. They signify death and misfortune.
  • Red blooms symbolize love and grief in the West. But, in Mexican culture, red is avoided for funerals.

When you know the cultural background of the deceased, research common meanings attached to colors. Stick with hues that commemorate the person’s life. Avoid any that contradict or negate who they were.

Select meaningful flowers and arrangements

Beyond colors, individual flower species carry symbolic importance in different cultures.

  • Lilies denote restored innocence after death in Christianity. White lilies are a common Catholic funeral flower.
  • Roses indicate enduring love in Western traditions. A single rose or a color significant to the deceased is often included in arrangements.
  • Orchids represent refinement and integrity in Asian traditions. Vanda orchids are part of funeral flower crowns.
  • Carnations reflect fond remembrance in Portugal. White or dark red blooms are featured at traditional funerals.

When possible, include flowers with cultural relevance for the deceased and their family. For instance, you might create an arrangement with orchids for a Buddhist funeral. Research common presentation styles as well. Some cultures use flower crowns or wreaths, while others prefer loose bouquets or potted plants. Respect the family’s heritage through your flower choices and presentation.

Communicate with the family

If possible, speaking directly with the family is the best approach. Ask if there are any customs they want to observe for the funeral that impact flower choices. Let them guide you to selections that will complement any religious rituals or cultural traditions for the deceased. The order funeral flowers in toronto are first and foremost for them and their community to grieve and honor their loved one. If you can’t consult the family directly, double-check your choices with the funeral home. They’ll know if selected flowers adhere to cultural and religious customs. Florists also help suggest appropriate arrangement styles and flower types.

Earl Fujiwara
the authorEarl Fujiwara