An almost automatic response to the death of a loved one or friend is to send flowers. It’s a commonplace ritual today, but it’s certainly not a new concept. Researchers have found evidence of flowers at burial sites dating back thousands upon thousands of years.
All these years later, flowers are still very much a part of many funeral traditions. For more people, flowers are a meaningful way to express a sentiment that’s tough to put into words. And that’s certainly the case with funerals where it can be difficult to find a way to share your sympathies.
While it may seem like a simple gesture, in fact, people do take great comfort in flowers at funerals. A study by the American Floral Endowment’s Floral Marketing Research Fund found that funeral directors believe that flowers and plants offer the most non-human comfort to bereaved families, followed by sympathy cards and food.
Funeral directors reported that 64 percent of families talk about the flowers and plants sent by friends and loved ones, and more than 80 percent want to take the flowers home after the funeral service.
The report noted that funeral directors believe “floral tributes and plants serve as an expression of sympathy, are a token of tribute and respect for the deceased, and help provide comfort and warmth to the funeral setting.”
When it comes to sending flowers as an expression of sympathy, it’s good to know the gesture will be well received, but there are some things to keep in mind. Types of flowers and different colors of flowers have various meanings so be mindful when selecting a floral arrangement .
For example, pink flowers represent compassion, nurturing and unconditional love. Pink is also a more feminine color so you’ll often see pink flowers in funeral bouquets for mothers. White is most often used in funeral flower arrangements because it’s a neutral and soft color. White also is the color of faith and purity and is often associated with moving on to a better place.
Also, be mindful if you’re sending flowers to a family with a different ethnic background than your own. You’ll want to be sensitive to their customs. Jewish funeral traditions do not include flowers, and mourners are encouraged to make a donation to a charitable organization important to the deceased. Islamic funerals stress simplicity so flowers are discouraged. When in doubt, consult with a family member or friend of the deceased or check with a representative at the funeral home for guidance.
For suggestions on Charleston area florists, check out this list of florists compiled by Stuhr Funeral Home.