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Flowers have become the universal gesture of showing grief for those who have gone and sympathy for those loved ones left behind. No other gift is more appropriate nor versatile in expressing emotions during this difficult time. Funeral flowers are a thoughtful way to convey a message to the family and friends of the deceased. They are also a way to send a last message of caring about the family member, friend, neighbor or colleague.
There is no "right" or "wrong" type of arrangement to send as a sympathy gift. Rather, there are a variety of appropriate options from which to choose. Although very traditional sympathy arrangements like wreaths are still requested, custom made symbolic arrangements have become popular. Common shapes include heart, cross and pillows. Stars, small crosses, bears, bunnies or angels are traditional when the deceased is a child. The floral arrangements are usually done in white, as white funeral flowers denote truth and honesty, with trimming in greenery. Name tributes ie. individual flowers forming names on a background of greenery are often purchased by close family members.
Also, coffin sprays, which are large arrangements of flowers that are elegantly draped on the coffin can be ordered in colors befitting a male or female as well as a general floral spray mixed with appropriate greens.
Any type of flowers can be used for funeral tributes. However, there are certain flowers that are more popular and more commonly used in floral arrangements. In many countries worldwide, chrysanthemums are traditionally used in funeral floral arrangements. White lilies and asters are also preferred in certain cultures across Europe. Red roses are also quite common and white, yellow and pink are frequently used as well. Also, red carnations are sometimes used for their great visual appeal.
Funeral flower etiquette is generally the same across religions. While it´s not inappropriate to send flower gifts at funerals, flower gifting is not a tradition in some communities. A floral arrangement received at the home after the activity surrounding the funeral can be a comforting, welcome reminder that friends haven´t forgotten. In fact, bereaved family and friends appreciate being thought of in the weeks and months after the service.