Flowers, whether happy or sad, have always been a way for us to express our deepest feelings. Sending sympathy and funeral flowers is a heartfelt way to bring comfort to a grieving loved one when we need to express sympathy or condolences. While including flowers in a farewell ritual has been practiced for thousands of years, did you know that flowers were once used for a very different purpose at funerals than they are now? Here's some background on how funeral flowers came to be.
The provenance of funeral flowers
One of the oldest forms of mourning is and has always been the arrangement and placement of flowers around the deceased. Dr. Ralph Solecki documented this ancient activity during his famous excavation in the Shanidar Cave in Northern Iraq in 1951. Dr. Solecki discovered several burial sites as well as pollen and flower fragments from a variety of wildflower species, which were later discovered to have been present since 62,000 B.C. Soil samples revealed that these flowers were placed on the burial site, making them the first flowers used for a funeral. This discovery was eventually recognized as the world's oldest form of human ritual in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Various reasons to send funeral flowers
Flowers are sent to funerals for a variety of reasons nowadays. They are, first and foremost, a means of expression. Flowers can serve as an expression of love, comfort, sympathy, and respect for those mourning a death who may find it difficult to put their feelings into words. Flowers also add to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service by providing a warm and beautiful backdrop. They create a softness, and their beauty helps us accept the loss of a loved one by balancing the heaviness and sadness of death.
Traditional use of funeral flowers
While sending flowers to a funeral is a long-standing tradition, they now serve a very different purpose than they did in the past. Flowers have traditionally been used to cover the unpleasant odors of a decaying body since the art of embalming was slowly developed over centuries. Flowers were used in varying quantities depending on many factors such as the environment, the condition of the body, and the time at which it was buried to help those who came to pay their final respects tolerate the smell of the deceased.
Spiritual significance of funeral flowers
Flowers have spiritual meaning and have always been used to represent the life cycle from birth to death. They represent more than just love and sympathy; they also represent eternity and immortality. The fragility of a flower represents the fragility of human life, where proper conditions are required for it to grow and blossom.
When you want to provide comfort to those who are grieving, sending sympathy flowers can help brighten this somber time and let them know they are not alone.