Why are Flowers the Common Choice to Send for Funerals?

By: Shama Rhoden
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Archeologists have found evidence of flowers arranged around many ancient burial sites, 

meaning that the practice of using flowers to commemorate the dead and comfort the grieving 

can be dated back to at least 62,000 years ago. It’s a near­universal tradition that has crossed 

borders and oceans, and stood the test of time. Although the reason for placing flowers on a 

grave all those years ago may be different from the reasons we do it now, the sentiment 

remains the same. Comforting the grief­stricken and respecting the deceased are a few reasons 

why we send flowers to funerals.

Then and Now

In many cultures throughout history, and even today, flowers and other plants are often used in 

art and poetry as a metaphor for the cycle of life. We begin as seeds, grow and mature into 

adults, and eventually wither and die. We share blooming flowers as a reminder of the beauty of 

the deceased’s life, not as a reminder of their death.

Today, we have attached meanings to the different flowers we use. One of the most common 

funeral flowers, oriental lilies, are often used at religious services to represent eternal life, while 

other lilies have come to represent the innocence of the deceased and sympathy for their 


Why Flowers?

Flowers are a simple, but beautiful, gift that are usually easy to find and send a very clear 

message of support. In older times, the scent of flowers could also mask the smell of 

decomposition, which were especially useful during times of plague when graveyards were often overly  

filled with the recently deceased. In times before embalming or when there was simply too many 

people dying to be properly prepared, the scent of flowers was often all there was to keep the air 

fresh and clean. Fortunately, we no longer have such problems.

When Flowers May Be Inappropriate

Although flowers are still a very common gift at funerals, there are times when it may not be 

appropriate or where time is too limited for flowers. In Judaism, for instance, burials must be 

performed as soon as possible, almost immediately in fact, so flowers are not ideal.  In this 

particular example, food baskets are instead gifted to the family afterwards.

There is also a growing trend where families request donations be made to a charity of choice, 

either theirs or the deceased. In this case, we would recommend that you respect the decision 

of the mourners as well as wishes of the deceased.

Despite these changes, you should remember that we have been using flowers to salute our 

dearly departed for a very long time, and that trend is set to continue for just as long, if not 



Leave a comment
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.


Please wait

Previous Posts

Some Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season

We all know that coping with grief and loss during the holidays can be extremely difficult for most families.  It is even extremely more difficult when the loss is sudden or recent.  It c...

When Choosing a Funeral Home

There are many things to consider when choosing a funeral home to meet your specific needs. Upon the passing of a loved one, most family members have difficulty planning the funeral arrangements of...

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Funeral Home for Cremation Services

Direct or Simple Cremation Service When looking for a funeral home and cremation service, there are various types of service options or alternatives. Some families are only familiar with direct cr...

Top Funeral Personalization Options to Incorporate Into the Service

It’s becoming increasingly common for people to customize traditional funeral services, and there are many fun and memorable ways that you can honor your deceased loved one in a personalized way. I...

Should a Child Attend a Funeral?

A funeral is an essential rite that marks life’s final passage. The service, however, isn’t important for the deceased, but rather for those left behind, and this includes children. Funerals help w...

Tips for Letting Go Of a Loved One While Keeping Them Close To Your Heart

The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event in anyone's life. After it has happened, many people feel as though their life will never return to normal and find it very difficult to carry on. Some ...

Is It Important to Have a Public Viewing Before the Funeral?

Every culture and religion has its own views on death and burial rituals. In Islam, for instance, the body must be buried as soon as possible, making it difficult or impossible to hold a public vie...

What to Say to Someone Who Has Experienced the Loss of a Loved One

It can be difficult to find the words to say when a person in your life has experienced the loss of someone very important in their life. We want to offer help, let them know we are there for them...

The Importance of Honoring Your Loved One's Funeral Wishes

Dealing with a loss is hard for anyone. For many, a funeral can be seen as a final goodbye or as a celebration of life. In some cases, however, the deceased may have left specific instructions rega...

Coping with Loss During the Holidays

For each of us, at different times in our lives, the loss of a loved one will affect us differently. Yet, it is commonly one of the hardest things we will go through, with grief and change being a...