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Flowers, Funerals & Faith

Published: August 31, 2017

Flowers, Funerals & Faith

When we hear that someone has passed away, most of us automatically think, “I need to call the florist and have them deliver flowers”, but did you ever wonder where that begin and what types of flowers are appropriate to send?

Sending flowers or an arrangement to the grieving family is meant to be an expression of love, support, sympathy, and respect.  You are showing that you’re thinking of them in their difficult time.  Although we see people sending flowers less and making donations to charities more, it is still a time-honoured tradition that started far before you and I were born. 

Throughout human history, we’ve seen evidence of burying our loved ones. The oldest documented floral tribute, however, was found at the Shandiar Cave site in Northern Iraq and dates back to 62,000 B.C. Sympathy flowers have long been a part of how we share in someone’s grief, although religion and culture have shaped the way we use them.

What flowers should I send?


We’ve compiled a list of some of the more common faith’s preference for flower giving. Keep in mind this is simply a guideline to follow and individual preference may vary.

  • Catholic – Most flowers and arrangements are acceptable.
  • Protestant Christian – Most flowers and arrangements are welcome at both the memorial service and the funeral.
  • Mormon – Most flowers are appropriate. However, avoid arrangements on a crucifix or cross.
  • Eastern or Greek Orthodox – Most flowers are accepted, and white flowers are favored.
  • Jewish – Although you may send flowers to the family members’ homes, flowers at the funeral home are not typically displayed. Some of the more contemporary Jewish funerals allow flowers at the entrance of the synagogue. If you are in doubt, you should probably refrain from sending flowers and opt for a fruit basket sent to the home of the family instead.
  • Baha’i – Most flowers and arrangements are appropriate.
  • Buddhist – Most flowers and arrangements are appropriate.
  • Hindu – Although floral arrangements are acceptable, garlands are more common at a Hindu funeral.
  •  Muslim – The appropriateness of flowers varies in the Islamic religion, so ask family members before sending them. Many people of this religion prefer that you send money to a charity in lieu of flowers. If you choose to order flowers for an Islamic funeral, keep the arrangement simple and elegant.

Always remember to express your sympathy and love in a respectful way and chose what is best for the family during this time.

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