The Language of Flowers: Understanding Floral Symbolism in Times of Grief

Language of Flowers

In moments of loss and mourning, where words fall short in conveying the depths of sorrow, flowers often take their place. These natural embodiments of emotion carry with them a language all their own, speaking in colors and forms to express what words cannot. When we send sympathy flowers, we are not merely sending a bouquet; we are delivering a message steeped in centuries of symbolism and tradition.

The Flowering of Floral Symbolism Through History 

The significance of flower symbolism to human culture and communication is something we have carried on for centuries. Fashion began in many ancient civilizations, where flowers were used in religious rituals and as offerings to gods and spirits. During the Victorian times in England, the language of flowers hit the climax. It was during that time that flowers started to be used more purposefully to express secret beliefs, mainly devotion and loss. This artistic tradition, floriography, served as a tool for society to express feelings, which the prevailing norms of those days often required for them to be left unvoiced. 

As the time of grief comes, the coded language becomes a powerful tool for individuals to communicate their support, empathy, and respect to the deceased’s family through their choice of flowers. Each flower and color has different connotations and may evoke feelings that can be very intense for the bereaved.  

Decoding the Message: Design of Floral Arrangements Commonly Used in the Time of Grieving 

Some flowers have established an intricate connection with death and memory through the symbolic meanings they represent and their historical usage. For example, lilies are frequently present at funerals because of their powerful symbolism. They are often associated with the purity of the deceased’s soul and restoring it to a state of innocence. Peace lily, one of the varieties of white lily, is a symbol of peace and tranquility. 

With roses, not only the type but also the color of the flowers matter. The romantic association of red roses with love remains, but the whiteness of roses is also considered to symbolize reverence, humility, and innocence. The most frequently chosen are the ones to honor someone who died young or unmarried. The yellow roses, with their warm and cheerful color, symbolize friendship and devotion, which are the perfect emblems of the family of the deceased person. 

Chrysanthemums, in particular, are always redolent of death and lamentation in many European and Asian cultures. Thus, white chrysanthemums are a symbol of lamentation or sorrow in this region, and more broadly, in the United States, they represent truth. 

This combined knowledge of the apt flower and its significance from the sender can offer consolation to the family that the sender has made a caring gesture of sympathy.  

Learn more about the impact of flower delivery on modern relationships in our related blog post.

The Floral Symbolism in Grief is up-to-date today 

Although nowadays, in our urban and often less strict cultural world, the traditional way to convey condolences using flowers is not so much in vogue, but the meaning attached to this practice is still profound. The act of sending flowers to a funeral or the mourner’s home provides a visual display of emotional support and allows the mourner to interact with this sign of support. It can be a physical embodiment of the comfort that is rarely spoken but very much needed when one finds it difficult to express the right words. 

Not only have the traditional choices been replaced by contemporary floral arrangements, but personalized elements that reflect the personality or preferences of the deceased are an increasingly common tribute feature.  This makes the tribute and the entire funeral a very personal and intimate occasion. This step, which makes the personalized approach, enables one to celebrate the deceased’s life and allows them to mourn in a way that suits them. 

The language of flowers in times of mourning functions like a bridge that maneuvers through emotional gaps, comforting and communicating the deepest of feelings through words. We will forever be grateful for the beautiful ways plants provide connection, remembrance, and healing as we continue our journey through losing someone. 

Generalizing, the language of flowers is a beautiful, powerful, and sensitive way to express support and closeness in times of sorrow. It is a tool that can communicate the deepest and usually challenging to express emotions in a language known to everyone. While flowers will still be used to communicate our human nature, our joint experience of loss and the tears it brings will be an important part of how we support each other through this process. 

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