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Why Do We Have Flowers at Funerals?

3 min read

Flowers have long been a prominent way to express sympathy, love, condolence and respect especially after the passing of someone we know.

But why do we use them and what do they mean?

We look into the history of funeral flowers as well as the symbolism behind the most commonly used funeral and sympathy flowers

The Meaning Behind Funeral Flowers

Today flowers are used at funerals as a visual expression of our sympathy, grief, love and respect to the deceased, but this was not always the case.

In early times, fragrant funeral flowers were placed on and around the casket of the deceased to perfume the area and ward off the smell of the decaying body.

Luckily, we found a better way to manage the odour, but the flower trend stayed.

Mid-Western funeral practices then saw the role of ‘Flower Ladies’ develop, a role as important as acting as a pall bearer.

Six ladies who were usually close friends or family of the deceased would carry the flowers into a flower vehicle and help to set them up at the cemetery.

However, this role faded and today everyone is welcome to express their feelings through flowers by bringing a flower arrangement that embodies their relationship and feelings towards the deceased and their family.

It is also now common to send sympathy flowers or a hamper to the home of close family of the deceased.


Common Funeral Flower Meanings


Lilies are perhaps the most popular flower at funeral services because of their representation of the innocence that has been restored in the soul of the deceased.

Any type of white lily is appropriate as they represent purity and majesty.

However, the white stargazer lily in particular symbolises sympathy, and features in many funeral and sympathy floral arrangements and bouquets like Purity.

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Peace Lily

The peace lily has long been used in religious ceremonies as the flower represents peace, innocence, harmony and purity after death.

They are also thought to be associated with the resurrection of Jesus Christ because they die during winter and come back to life in the spring.

The peace lily also makes a great sympathy gift due to its ability to revive itself.

It’s a nice plant to give to the family of the deceased as a reminder that their soul still lives on.

If you’d like to give a long-lasting reminder to the family, a beautifully presented peace lily like Madonna makes a perfect choice.

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Just like white lilies, white roses represent purity and innocence, and are a common addition to sympathy and funeral flower arrangements like Serenity and Cloud.

Other colours of roses are also used to remember the deceased. Pink roses stand for love, grace and appreciation and are usually given to the bereaved, while dark red roses symbolise grief.

Yellow roses signify friendship and are given by friends of the deceased to represent their loyalty.

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Potted orchids are a long-lasting elegant plant that make the perfect choice for a sympathy gift.

The exotic flower evokes feelings of renewal and innocence, and the orchid flower means ‘I will always love you’.

Different colours have different meanings, so it’s important to know what they mean before sending a flower delivery, read about orchid colour meanings here.

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Chrysanthemums are a common feature in flower arrangements at funeral services because white chrysanthemums carry meanings associated with the death of a loved one, such as mourning and grief.

Besides their symbolism, the white blooms are used in bouquets and arrangements like Garnet as a welcome, positive and cheerful tribute.

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When carnations are used in funeral floral arrangements like Comfort, they stand for love and admiration, but they are commonly used for their sweet long-lasting fragrance too.

Like orchids, each colour carnation has a different meaning; red symbolises admiration for a loved one that is deceased, pink stand for remembrance of the dead and white represent untainted love and innocence.

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Whether you send a wreath, floral cross, basket of brighter blooms, or a sympathy spray, in a traditional or modern style, say it with flowers and send the perfect sympathy and funeral flowers to express how you feel.

Our floral tributes are marked as being suitable for delivery to the home or service, and our Interflora florists are able to provide their advice on the most appropriate choice of sympathy or funeral flowers.

Find us in your area such as Melbourne, Sydney or Adelaide.

Interflora Australia has been operating across our country since 1954. Originally based in Adelaide, South Australia, we now operate out of Interflora House in Melbourne, Victoria. Interflora Australia is 100% Australian owned - via a licensing agreement, issued to us from Interflora in the United Kingdom...