Why are Flowers the Common Choice to Send to Funerals?

By: Myles O'Riordan
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The practice of sending flowers to a funeral can be dated back to over 62,000 years ago when flowers were arranged around burial sites. It’s a tradition that has stood the test of time. Although the reason for placing flowers on a grave thousands of years ago may be different from the reasons we do it now, the sentiment is still there.

Comforting the grief-stricken and respecting the deceased are a few reasons why we send flowers to funerals.

The History Behind Placing Flowers on a Grave

For many cultures, flowers represented the cycle of life. Placing flowers on a gravesite was meant to respect and honour the deceased. Another more practical reason flowers were placed on graves is to mask the scent of decomposition. While this may sound gruesome, this was the norm in a time before embalming was in practice.

Modern Flower Arrangements

In modern times, the meaning behind sending flowers to a funeral is also to honour the dead and celebrate life. Flowers represent the fragility of life and many different flowers carry different meanings behind them.

Different types of flowers are symbols of love, purity, innocence and so on. Sending specific types of flowers can be a symbol of your relationship to the deceased.

By sending flowers you are also supporting and comforting the bereaved. By seeing an outpouring of respect and love for their loved one, they will be comforted as they grieve. Sending flowers expresses sympathy and often times can express a sentiment that is difficult to put into words.

When Flowers are Not Appropriate

Sometimes flowers are not appropriate for a funeral. When a family asks for donations to a charity in lieu of flowers, it’s best practice to respect the family’s wishes. Donations in lieu of flowers at a funeral are gaining in popularity.

Some religions also do not appreciate flowers at funerals. In the Jewish faith for example, burials are to take place almost immediately after death, so there is usually no time for flowers. In this faith the tradition is to send food baskets to the grieving family afterward instead.

Flowers will Always have a Place in the Funeral Industry

Flowers have always been the ideal way to show sympathy at a funeral. For most services they are accepted and welcomed, and would be missed if they were not there.

By sending flowers you can say more than words in a beautiful and comforting tribute to the deceased. 

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