If you've been tasked with choosing the flowers for a funeral arrangement of a religious friend, and you know absolutely nothing about flowers or their religion, don't panic. This article will help you out.
One way you could go about the task is to simply call up the funeral home and order an arrangement. The problem with doing that is that the florist might provide you with flowers that are not appropriate for the deceased's religion. Different religions have different etiquette when it comes to funeral flowers and not all florists understand the differences.
With that said, here are the appropriate flowers (or lack thereof) for three religions: Judaism, Catholicism, and Buddhism.
Jewish Funeral—No Flowers
In Judaism, it is not appropriate to send flowers. Flowers are viewed as celebratory, and when one is at the funeral, or sitting shiva, it is not a time to celebrate. Other religions view the funeral as a time to mourn and also celebrate the persons life, whereas in Judaism the ceremony is strictly for morning. One common alternative to flowers is a Tzedakah, which is a donation made to a charity in the deceased honor. A card mentioning this can be brought to the funeral home or the family home during shiva.
Catholic Funeral—Lilies and Roses
Flowers are a big part of Catholic funerals. However, not all flowers are acceptable. The flowers should be restrained and not too showy. They should be somber and a reminder of the persons passing on to the next life. There are two perfect flowers for this occasion: lilies and roses.
Lilies are perhaps the most famous of all funeral flowers. If you ever think that a place has a funeral parlor smell, you're probably smelling lilies. They are ubiquitous in funeral parlors, so you will unconsciously associate the smell. They are perfect because they are delicate, not too showy, and beautiful. While lilies come in many colors, the best color for a Catholic funeral is white. The color white reminds mourners of the purity of the soul and a return to peace.
Roses are another great flower. They are elegant and symbolic of love. While you might see red roses, you should play it safe and choose yellow or white. Avoid orange or spotted roses. An arrangement of roses in an elegant vase would be perfect.
Flowers are acceptable for a Buddhist funeral, but they must be white. Any other color is not acceptable. While there are lots of white flowers to choose from, you should stick with white chrysanthemums. The mums can be arranged in a standing design or in a vase. You should only choose white flowers. If you cannot find mums, then white lilies can be substituted. Do not opt for different color mums, and definitely stay away from red flowers. Red is the color of celebrations (prominent at weddings), so it has no place at a funeral.
Keep this information in mind next time you attend or help to plan a funeral service.
When my mom passed away, my dad and I were charged with the task of planning a funeral that everyone would love. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a difficult task, since many of my mom's relatives didn't speak English. We mulled over what to do, and we decided to meet with the funeral director for a few tips. He told us a few ideas for how to make the experience easy for everyone to understand, and we implemented his suggestions. It was incredible how much easier it made things on the day of the funeral. Read here for more funeral arrangement tips so that you aren't left stressing about more than you need to.