Flower arrangements have been around almost as long as funeral rituals themselves. While they were once present to mask the odor of the recently deceased, today they serve as a physical reminder from family and friends of their love for the deceased. In last weeks post, we learned about the various types of flower arrangements. This week, we will learn the meaning of different flowers and how you can express a special message with a flower arrangement.
Lilies are one of the most common flowers found in funeral arrangements. The white lily symbolizes purity and the return of the soul of the departed to peace. The white Stargazer Lily symbolizes sympathy, making it a popular selection for funerals.
Roses come in many colors, each evoking a different meaning. Red roses symbolize love and grief and are especially appropriate when coming from the spouse or children of the deceased. Yellow roses mean friendship and would be appropriate when gifted from a close friend to express their sympathy.
Carnations will be found in many funeral arrangements as they come in an array of colors. Like many flowers, each color has different significant meaning. White carnations, like the white lily, represent innocence and rebirth. Pink carnations carry the meaning of remembrance, making them a popular funeral choice.
The orchid plant makes a statement in and of itself, and their meaning is especially poignant at funerals. Red orchids symbolize strength and courage and are suitable as a gift to the spouse or immediate family of the deceased. Similarly, white or pink orchids symbolize sympathy and are fitting from anyone.
Greek mythology tells the story of Hyakinthos, a young boy that was adored by both Apollo and Zephyr and killed in a jealous rage by Zephyr. In the place where his body laid, beautiful, fragrant purple flowers bloomed. Apollo named them ‘hyacinth’ after the boy he adored. This connection to sorrow and grieving lends to the hyacinth flower being a popular choice to express deep sorrow for the one who has passed.
The poppy flower is most recognizable in its association with veterans in many western countries. This comes from the poem “In Flanders Field” by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, which begins “ In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.” A red poppy means “We will always remember you” and is appropriate for a funeral arrangement, especially for members of the armed forces. White poppies also hold deep meaning and signify “Rest in Peace”.
As you can see, flowers hold many significant meanings. From the type of flower to the color, they can help you to express your care or relationship to those who have died. Next time you are looking for a way to share your condolences with a friend or family member, maybe send a specific flower or include a message about what the flower means. This personal touch can mean so much to those who are grieving.