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Friday, November 2, 2012

Sympathy Flowers – In the Garden of Peace

Published In The Edmonton Sun - May 2011

Flowers have long been a tradition of symbolism and sympathy at funerals. For centuries, individuals have used flowers to express kindness and compassion to the family of the deceased. However, it was not until the release of the popular hymn, “In the Garden,” composed by C. Austin Miles in 1914, that the idea of the dearly departed coming to rest in a beautiful garden of flowers began to develop. Many funeral homes adopted the concept of an indoor garden as a backdrop for the memorial service and funeral proceedings.

The warmth and spiritual symbolism provided by lovely and fragrant flowers help family and friends to grieve in comfort. Flowers add a delicate sense of beauty and refinement to the service and provide the bereaved with a sense of everlasting rest and beauty. When you send funeral flowers, you are not only expressing your love and support to the family, you are conveying your respect and admiration for the deceased as well. Funeral bouquets and arrangements can symbolize a variety of meanings and expressions, depending upon the types and colors of blooms used.

Colors of Funeral Flowers

The color of flowers you choose for a funeral flower arrangement can be just as important as the type of flowers incorporated into the bouquet. From the deepest red of a fragrant rose to the sunny yellow of a daffodil, each color offers a traditional story of symbolism to convey your respect, love, and admiration to the family, as well as to the departed.

  • Red—Courage, beauty, and admiration are all sentiments that seem to be conveyed with red flowers. This deep and passionate color has long stood as a symbol of highly regarded love and respect.

  • Blue—Blue is most often associated with peacefulness and calm serenity. Funeral flower arrangements containing blue flowers symbolize openness and freedom from anxiety or worry.

  • Pink—Typically associated with women, pink flowers can also serve as a token of respect in funeral bouquets for men. Pink symbolizes gentility, happiness, and grace. It is also a color often associated with youthful joy and innocence.

  • White—White flowers offer feelings of simple beauty, peace, and reverence. Floral arrangements containing white flowers can convey modesty, elegance, and grace.

  • Yellow—Bright and beautiful yellow flowers often express a feeling of joy and friendship. Yellow flowers in a funeral bouquet can convey a message of new beginnings and joyful rest.

  • Orange—Orange flowers stand out to express warmth and compassion. This color is also a symbol of confidence and satisfaction. In funeral flower arrangements, orange flowers might be used to represent a life that was well-lived.

  • Green—Funeral flower arrangements often use greenery to convey a sense of closeness with nature. Foliage or green flowers represent renewal, optimism, and tranquility.

  • Purple—Purple flowers express pride, dignity, and respect. Purple has long been the color associated with royalty, conveying a feeling of admiration and nobility.

Types of Funeral Flowers

From deep red roses to delightfully beautiful irises and lilies, the types of flowers incorporated into funeral flower arrangements can be used to express certain sentiments or messages of hope, love and support. When you find it hard to express your feelings in words, a funeral arrangement filled with an assortment of beautiful blooms can help communicate your thoughts. While a large variety of flowers can be beautifully incorporated into a funeral bouquet, some of the more traditional funeral flowers include lilies, roses, carnations, gladiolus, and iris.

  • Lilies—The lily is perhaps one of the most commonly used flower in funeral arrangements and bouquets. It is often seen as a symbol of restoration of the soul and quiet rest. White lilies are often used to express sympathy and convey a feeling of peace.
  • Roses—Roses are most often used in floral sprays and arrangements provided by the family to rest near the casket. Roses represent admiration, great love, grace, and respect.

  • Carnations—Carnations are also a very popular choice for funeral flower arrangements, as they convey a variety of meanings. A white carnation typically expresses remembrance, while red carnations evoke admiration and respect.

  • Gladiolus—While perhaps not quite as popular as some other types of blooms, gladiolus can be a beautiful addition to a funeral bouquet. Gladiolus represent elegance, strength of character, integrity, and sincerity.

  • Iris—The iris conveys feelings of faith, wisdom, and fearless beauty. In Greek mythology, the goddess of the rainbow was named Iris. She was thought to be responsible for taking the souls of women across the rainbow to the Elysian Fields in death. The iris is often seen as a symbol of deep respect and admiration.

Other Funeral Flowers

While certain colors and types of flowers can be used to express your sentiments and feelings, it is not necessary to use only specific kinds of flowers in funeral bouquets and arrangements. If you happen to know the favorite flower or color of the departed, a floral arrangement using those flowers can convey a beautiful sentiment of remembrance and respect. When words just simply don’t seem to be enough, a beautiful flower arrangement can help you express a sentiment of love.


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