Flowers have always been a way for us to express our deepest sentiments, whether happy or sad. When we’re looking to express our condolences, sending sympathy and funeral flowers is a heartfelt way to deliver some comfort to a grieving loved one. While the tradition of incorporating flowers to a farewell ritual has been around for thousands of years, flowers once had a very different use at funerals than they have today.
Here’s a look at the history of funeral flowers and how they came to be.
A landmark discovery
Arranging and placing flowers around the deceased is and has been one of the oldest forms of mourning. This ancient tradition was well documented by Dr. Ralph Solecki in 1951, during his famous excavation in the Shanidar Cave in Northern Iraq. Dr. Solecki discovered several burial sites there and uncovered pollen and flower fragments from multiple species of wildflowers that were later discovered to have been there since 62,000 B.C. Soil samples determined that these flowers were placed on the burial site, marking them as the first flowers to have been used for a funeral. This discovery was eventually recorded in record books as the world’s oldest form of human ritual.
How flowers were used at funerals in ancient times
While giving flowers for a funeral is a tradition that has been around a long time, it is one that evolved considerably over the years. Since the art of embalming has developed slowly over centuries, flowers were traditionally used to cover the unpleasant odors of a decaying body. Depending on different factors, such as the environment, the condition of the body, and the time at which the body was buried, flowers were used in varying quantities as a way of tolerating the smell of the deceased to those who came to pay their final respects.
Why people send flowers to funerals today
Today, people send flowers to funerals for many reasons. First, they do it as a means of expression. Since it can be difficult for those in mourning to put their feelings into words, flowers can act as an expression of love, comfort, sympathy, and respect. Flowers also create a background of warmth and beauty, adding to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. They create a sense of softness, wherein their beauty helps balance the heaviness and sadness of death, helping us accept the loss of a loved one.
What funeral flowers represent
Flowers have a spiritual significance, and have always been used to symbolize the life cycle from birth to death. They represent not only love and sympathy but also eternity and immortality. A person’s life is symbolized by the fragility of a flower, where proper conditions are necessary for them to grow and blossom.
Losing a loved one is difficult. When you wish to provide comfort to those who are grieving, sending sympathy flowers can help brighten this somber time and let them know they are not alone.