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Coping with Loss

Meanings of Traditional Funeral & Sympathy Flowers

January 12, 2021

Life After Loss provides you with helpful ways to cope with tragedy and loss. From advice on dealing with impossible pain to suggestions for finding incredible power, we share expert tips from grief counselors and emotionally focused therapists that will assist you through the grieving process, step by step. Whether you’re looking for self-care tips or ways to comfort a loved one, this series will help bring about comfort and closure.

Sending flowers to a funeral is a thoughtful way to express your condolences. Flowers have long been an important part of funeral ceremonies, and each variety has its own unique meaning. Before you choose an arrangement to express your condolences, learn more about the different types of sympathy flowers and what they symbolize.

Funeral Flowers

“During this time when we cannot attend large in-person memorial services, it is even harder to express our sympathy,” says Jim McCann, Founder and Chairman, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc. “Let the people in your life know you are thinking of them with a call, a note, or flowers, if appropriate.”

Funeral flower meanings

Spread beauty with calla lilies
The calla lily is featured in the Christian Easter service as a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection and represents holiness, faith, and rebirth. Additionally, they have come to represent youth and beauty.

Choose red carnations to show admiration
Carnations are a popular choice for funeral or sympathy arrangements. Each color symbolizes a specific emotion. White represents innocence and untainted love. Pink is associated with remembrance of the deceased. Red means admiration for a loved one that has passed away.

Show love with red chrysanthemums
Also known by its abbreviated name, ‘mum,’ chrysanthemums have different meanings depending on its color and the country in which it’s found. In the U.S., red mums mean love, while white signifies innocence and truth.

quote author image

Let the people in your life know you are thinking of them with a call, a note, or flowers, if appropriate.”

Jim McCann, Founder and Chairman, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc.

Daffodils symbolize new beginnings
Daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings. Because of this, they make an excellent flower arrangement for religious families. In China, the daffodil is associated with good fortune. In Japan, it means mirth and joy. In French, the daffodil means ‘esperance’ or ‘hope.’

Gardenias represent peace and purity
Gardenias are a white flower that represents purity and peace. The beautiful, fragrant flowers of a gardenia offer comfort to those who are grieving. The gardenia also symbolizes love, making it a touching choice for remembering the lives of family & friends.

Show strength of character with gladiolus
The gladiolus is also know as the “sword lily” because it can grow up to four feet tall. It has many symbolic meanings, including integrity, sincerity, and strength of character. It’s available in a range of colors, including pink, orange, red, white, purple, yellow, and salmon.

Hydrangeas convey heartfelt emotions
The hydrangea blooms in spring, symbolizing a sense of renewal. Its meaning is not as well-known as other funeral flowers, but some believe it also conveys true, heartfelt emotions. Hydrangeas can thrive in almost any type of soil.

Lilies symbolize rebirth of the soul
The lily is the flower most commonly associated with bereavement, specifically when it’s white in color. White lilies symbolize innocence, the rebirth of the soul and purity. Additionally, the Oriental lily signifies sympathy and the stargazer symbolizes eternal life.

Orchids represent everlasting love and sympathy
Families often choose orchids for their long-lasting nature, so they can keep them for a while after the funeral. Typically, orchids of any color symbolize everlasting love, but funeral flower arrangements often include white and/or pink orchids to convey sympathy.

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Roses of all colors come with special meanings
In most situations, roses — especially red — symbolize love. Other colors, however, can have different meanings. White means innocence and humility, while pink means appreciation and grace. Dark red generally represents sorrow, while yellow can represent loyalty or friendship.

Choose white tulips to show forgiveness
Tulips have many meanings based on their colors. Yellow symbolizes cheerful thoughts or hope, and pink expresses confidence or happiness. Purple can be used to mean admiration for a loved one’s accomplishments, while white signifies peace or forgiveness, and are best suited for funerals.

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