What do the flowers in funeral wreaths signify?

Alt image: Funeral Wreaths

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For most of us, Christmas wreaths represent nothing more than adornments used to spread the holiday cheer. However, those who have lost a loved one realize that flowers are a significant part of any funeral proceeding. It is often said that the flowers selected by the aggrieved to mourn their departed loved one symbolize the relationship between the two individuals. What is more is that in Christianity, the evergreen funeral wreaths signify eternal life, marking the victory of one’s spirit over the immortal clutches of death. Unfortunately, people do not grant funeral flowers the attention they deserve, considering they are the last gift one bestows upon the deceased. Instead of asking the florist to use an assortment of flowers to produce a wreath, it is important to be careful in picking and choosing the flowers for a funeral.  Different flowers have different meanings. This blog aims to tell you the connotations associated with different florae, so you can make a more informed decision.


Lilies are perhaps the most common of all flowers used to adorn graves. This fact should not come as a surprise for most readers, as it is no coincidence that most funeral homes radiate the same intoxicating, clove-like smell characteristic of lilies. In Christianity, funeral wreaths made out of lily symbolize that the deceased’s soul has been purified of all its sins, thereby retaining the innocence it once possessed as a baby. Perhaps, one reason that lilies are so common is that the same flowers are assumed to have been used to decorate Virgin Mary’s grave.


Like lilies, funeral wreaths made of Carnations are commonly used to cover the departed’s grave. Colorful varieties of Carnations are often used in funeral proceedings, each of which symbolizes different meanings. For example, red-colored Carnations emphasize the feelings of endearment, affection, and fondness between the deceased and their loved ones. However, pink-colored Carnation is used in most cases, as they are assumed to be made out of the Virgin Mary’s tears.


Apart from lilies and carnations, one frequently comes across roses in a funeral parlor, where they are used to cover graves and as scented sprays. Like carnations, different colored roses represent different meanings. For instance, white-colored roses are assumed to symbolize the innocence, purity, piety, and sanctity of the person being laid to rest. When someone loses a soulmate, they often use blood-red roses to adorn the graves of their partner, signifying the love and passion they shared with them. Last but not release, most children who lose their parents use wreaths made of pink-colored roses to express their gratitude and thankfulness.  


Unlike the other flowers mentioned in this list, the meaning ascribed to Chrysanthemums varies geographically. For example, in the European region, Chrysanthemums are laid on the graves to honor the dead. In Asia, however, the flowers symbolize the act of reincarnation and are used as a present in baby showers. The color of the Chrysanthemums also determines their meaning, with white representing beauty, innocence, and spirituality and red symbolizing grief or love.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you will realize that Christmas wreaths do not only signal the arrival of the holiday season. Instead, they are articles of remembrance and tribute and serve as a parting gift for the deceased.

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