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Flowers and Funerals

By Sheryl Eleazar

Flowers are essential parts of every occasion, even in the gloomiest time of death. Flowers in lively colors are used to set the mood in a cheery and happy event. Yet in funerals, they are significant symbolisms of various things.

These days, sympathy flowers complete a funeral. They are like decorations that sets the right ambiance and formality of the funeral event. Deaths are something to be depressed about but flowers somehow uplifts the spirit. The use of flowers in funerals is not a recently born practice. In fact, fragrant blooms have always been a part of funeral events in the past. The flora then are used not for decorations but to hide the offensive smell of decomposing bodies. Burials held in caves such as in Shanidar Cave, used the flora for this very purpose.

In 1874, the remains of the late American president (Andrew Johnson) is said not to have gone through any embalming and so the foul odor reeked during the funeral day. The undertaker closed the president's casket and placed lots of fragrant blooms on top of it and around the burial ground to hide the stink.

In funeral traditions, if pall bearers carry the casket of the deceased, the plant blooms for the funeral are carried by the flower ladies. The ladies are so chosen from the group of the dead's closest friends who set up the blooms in the cemetery. Today however, we rarely practice the role of flower ladies as funeral rites are no longer community oriented and the hectic lifestyle of people could barely include carrying the floral blooms for the funeral.

Yet without the flower ladies, funerals are still never complete without sympathy blooms. When someone we know departs, the first memorial gift we can think about is funeral flower, although the choice may be changed if the culture of the person who died does not accept them as appropriate funeral gifts.

Floras are sent to funerals because most people believe that this is how they can show their sentiments and condolences to the family of the deceased. They relieve us of the hard to put expressions or words that we need to say to the family. By sending floral blooms to funerals, we visually relate our sympathy, respect and love for the recently died.

Funeral blooms are also sent and seen in the church where the remains will be blessed before the burial. Some people also send such gifts to the home of the bereaved after the memorial service, still as a way to show condolences.

Aside from setting an appropriate funeral background, floras in funerals also has spiritual implication. They symbolize not just respect and love but also immortality and eternity. As you throw away a piece of floral bloom on the grave, it's like you're telling the deceased that he or she will not be forgotten and all his or her memories will be cherished as long as you live.

Funeral flowers are not limited to only one color or only one kind. You may choose which kind of floral bloom you want to send to the funeral according to the meaning attributed to that object. Funeral flowers may also be in varying colors including white, yellow, pink, orange or even red. You can also choose a floral arrangement for the funeral flowers.

S. Eleazar writes for FuneralService.com.au, a top Australian Funeral Service Directory, where you can find funeral products, service providers and related articles. Visit FuneralService.com.au today to find florists and suppliers of funeral flowers.


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