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The Symbolism of Funeral Flowers: A Guide to Meaningful Floral Arrangements 

February 28, 2024

Losing a loved one is one of life’s deepest emotional experiences. Sharing your expressions of sympathy and support can provide the grieving with a sense of comfort and community. Funeral flowers have long been embraced as a means of adding beauty to a somber atmosphere as well as often providing a profound symbolic meaning to the family and close friends of the departed.   

Understanding the significance of different varieties of funeral flowers can help you to select arrangements that convey your heartfelt sentiments while honoring the memory of the decedent in a meaningful way. In this blog post, we’ll highlight 7 of the most common flowers used in funeral arrangements.  

  1. Roses: Roses may be the most universally recognized flowers, symbolizing love, respect, and remembrance. White roses traditionally convey purity and innocence, making them a frequent choice for funeral arrangements. Red roses, meanwhile, symbolize love and courage and can be included to express deep affection and respect.
  1. Lilies: Lilies are synonymous with the restoration of the soul and the promise of renewal. Elegant white blooms represent purity, virtue, and the restored innocence of the departed soul. Many people choose lilies to express their sympathy and offer comfort to a grief-stricken family.
  1. Carnations: Carnations come in a variety of colors, each of which holds its own symbolism. White carnations symbolize pure love and innocence, while red carnations represent admiration and affection. Pink carnations are often selected to express gratitude and remembrance. Whichever color you opt for, carnations have long-lasting blooms that make them a practical choice for funeral arrangements.
  1. Chrysanthemums: Chrysanthemums (aka “mums”) symbolize grief, mourning, and the cycle of life and death in many cultures. In Japanese culture for instance, they’re associated with honoring the deceased and paying respects to ancestors. In other parts of Asia, mums represent rebirth. In American culture, these gorgeous flowers come in a variety of colors, with white chrysanthemums most often chosen for funeral tributes due to their association with innocence and truth.
  1. Hydrangeas: Hydrangeas are known for having lush, full blooms and represent deeply felt emotions including gratitude and understanding. Their diverse colors, including white, pink, blue, and purple, offer a wide range of options for you to express sympathy and offer comfort to grieving loved ones.
  1. Orchids: Orchids are prized for their graceful elegance and beauty. Their longevity makes them a fine choice, as families often opt to take them home after the service. Orchids of all colors symbolize everlasting love; for funeral arrangements, pink or white orchids are often chosen to demonstrate sympathy and respect for the departed.
  1. Gladioli: Gladioli, with their tall, striking blooms, symbolize strength of character, integrity, and sincerity. They are often chosen, regardless of color, to honor the courage and resilience of the departed and to offer support and encouragement to grieving family members.

In choosing funeral flowers, it’s essential to consider not only their various symbolic meanings but also the personal preferences and cultural traditions of the deceased and their family. Whether choosing a single type of flower or a diverse arrangement, the intention behind the gesture is what truly matters—to offer solace, express sympathy, and honor the memory of a life well-lived. 

At Keohane, we understand the importance of meaningful gestures during times of grief. Our experienced team can assist you in selecting the ideal flower arrangements to honor your loved one’s memory and offer some comfort to those in mourning. Together, we will create floral tributes that speak volumes of love, respect, and remembrance. 


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