The tra­di­tion of pay­ing re­spects with flow­ers

The Scarborough News - - FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENTS -

ak­ing or send­ing flow­ers to a funeral is a far from new tra­di­tion; there is ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ev­i­dence to sug­gest that wild flow­ers were placed on graves over 60,000 years ago.

Flow­ers at a funeral or memo­rial are a way of ex­press­ing feel­ings when words are not enough. Be­reaved friends and fam­ily un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate what is meant, es­pe­cially when it is clear that a lit­tle ex­tra thought has gone into choos­ing an ar­range­ment ap­pro­pri­ate to the dead per­son’s char­ac­ter or life­style.

Even if the funeral an­nounce­ment states that char­ity do­na­tions are prefer­able to flow­ers, a sim­ple gift of flow­ers will not go un­val­ued.

White flow­ers are said to sym­bol­ize pu­rity and in­no­cence, and white lilies are re­garded as tra­di­tional funeral flow­ers, but most va­ri­eties and colours are now seen as ac­cept­able.

Flow­ers can be ar­ranged in many styles. Crosses or wreaths are tra­di­tional, but there are other op­tions too. For in­stance, a mil­i­tary badge de­sign might be cre­ated for some­one con­nected with the armed forces, a foot­ball shirt in team colours for a keen fan, or a rus­tic dis­play for some­one who loved the out­doors.

More con­ven­tion­ally, a dec­o­ra­tive bas­ket or con­tainer makes an at­trac­tive dis­play.

A spray of flow­ers can be mounted on a stand. Or, as an al­ter­na­tive to cut flow­ers, a plant can be a last­ing me­mento, and can be taken or de­liv­ered to the fam­ily home rather than dis­played at the funeral.

Flow­ers are some­times sub­ject to the cus­tom and habits of the de­ceased per­son and be­reaved fam­ily, es­pe­cially if the funeral cer­e­mony has a re­li­gious el­e­ment.

Be­liev­ers in all forms of Chris­tian­ity are usu­ally happy to ac­cept funeral flow­ers, though some non­con­formist de­nom­i­na­tions might pre­fer the ar­range­ment to be sim­ple.

The East­ern Or­tho­dox tra­di­tion attaches par­tic­u­lar mean­ing to white funeral flow­ers. Mem­bers of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter Day Saints pre­fer flow­ers to be sent at the time of mourn­ing, and might find an ar­range­ment in the shape of a cross of­fen­sive.

Flow­ers do not form part of the Jewish Or­tho­dox funeral tra­di­tion; more ap­pro­pri­ate would be a gift bas­ket or fruit sent dur­ing the mourn­ing pe­riod.

Opin­ions vary among Mus­lim or Is­lamic cul­tures; it is best to con­sult some­one close to the fam­ily in ad­vance, if this is pos­si­ble.

At Bud­dhist and Hindu funer­als, flow­ers are usu­ally wel­comed and the thought be­hind them ap­pre­ci­ated. Flow­ers are tra­di­tion­ally re­garded as an in­te­gral part of a funeral or memo­rial, but in a multi-cul­tural so­ci­ety it is im­por­tant to find out be­fore­hand what is ac­cept­able.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.