Ethnic and Religious Guidelines for Sending Sympathy Flowers

Ethnic and Religious Guidelines for Sending Sympathy Flowers

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

It is common for most of us to know the funeral “traditions” of our own cultures and religions but what if you want to send something to a funeral or memorial service to pay your respects and have no idea what is acceptable. Most religions and cultures have their own traditions, that have been passed down from generation to generation.

It is important to respect the wishes of these cultures and religions and show how much you care by sending just the right flowers that will also convey the proper message to those in mourning.   There are some rules of etiquette to follow when sending funeral flowers, particularly in incidences where religion is a factor.

If you have no idea which flowers are most accepted in certain cultures and religions this article will help you make the right choices. When you do contact the florist to place your order you and the florist will have a better understanding of what you want to send.  The following is a guideline to  help you choose the perfect tribute to express your sympathy and love, including the types of flowers which are preferred, which to avoid (if any) and where the final tribute is customarily sent.

Religious Affiliations:

According to the Baha’i tradition, funerals and burials generally take place within 1 hour of the place of death. Funeral flowers are appropriate and welcome at Baha’i funerals.

In the Buddhist tradition, funerals almost always take place in a funeral home and never in a temple. It is considered appropriate and acceptable to send flowers for a Buddhist funeral.

Eastern Orthodox tradition requires a three-day mourning prior to burial.  During this time, flowers may be sent to the funeral home. White funeral flowers are often seen at an Eastern Orthodox service as they convey respect of the departed.

Hindus hold a funeral service on the day of death, if possible before the sun goes sets. Sending flowers isn’t part of the Hindu tradition, but it may still be seen as a thoughtful gesture. Garlands and mixed sprays are typical.

In the Jewish tradition sending of flowers to the synague may or may not be acceptable depending on the level of Jewish practice.  Liberal practicing Jews are more accepting of flowers during the service while in the Orthodox practice, flowers are not typically sent. It is appropriate to send flowers, gift baskets, fruit and shiva baskets to the home during the time of mourning.

Mormons (or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) welcome funeral flowers to the service or to them home. A cross is not acceptable, however a heart, standing spray or basket is considered appropriate and acceptable.

Muslim or Islamic cultures often have differing opinions concerning funeral flowers, depending on their ethnic origin and on what particular branch of Islam they originate. It is best to seek the advice of someone close to the family, before sending flowers.

Protestants and Other Christian faiths accept all forms of funeral flowers. Certain branches or denominations may have particular ideas concerning the types of flowers from simple baskets to more lavish flowers on standing sprays.

Roman Catholics welcome flowers and funeral flower arrangements. There may be some particulars concerning delivery of funeral flowers to a church or cathedral including the number of flowers allowed on the altar.

Ethnic Traditions and Cultures

African

Religious Affiliation if any: Christian, Muslim, others

Types of flowers preferred are roses, lilies and tropical exotic bouquets

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: none

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home for Christian services and to the home for those of Muslim faith.

Arab

Religious Affiliation if any: Christian, Muslim, others

Types of flowers preferred are roses and carnations

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: none

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home for Christian services and to the home for those of Muslim faith.

Asian

Religious Affiliation if any: Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, others

Types of flowers preferred are chrysanthemums, lilies, orchids and gladioulas or stalk-like flowers (such as snapdragons and larkspur).

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: Chinese avoid red. Koreans prefer white and light yellow

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home for Buddhist and Christian services and to the home for those of Muslim faith.

Chaldean

Religious Affiliation if any: Christian (primarily Roman Catholic)

Types of flowers preferred are roses, carnations and lilies

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: Red symbolizes love and loss; white flowers are used at children’s funeral services.

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home

Jewish

Religious Affiliation if any: Jewish

Types of flowers preferred are roses, snapdragons or gladioulas orchids and tropicals

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: none

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the home.

Hispanic

Religious Affiliation if any: Christian (primarily Roman Catholic) and others

Types of flowers preferred are roses, carnations, snapdragons or gladioula orchids and tropical flowers

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: none

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home.

Irish
Religious Affiliation if any: Christian, Roman Catholic

Types of flowers preferred include almost any type of flowers although roses, carnations, and wildflowers are typically sent.

Color preferences or prohibitions for flowers: none

Where are the flowers customarily sent?  To the funeral home, the church and the home of the immediate family.

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