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Interfaith Etiquette for Funeral Flowers

Interfaith Etiquette for Funeral Flowers

Funeral traditions vary for each culture and faith. Here are some general guidelines to help. If in in doubt, check with local religious leaders or family members, too.

Burial should take place within a one-hour drive from the place where death occurs. Flowers are appropriate.

Most Buddhist funerals take place in a funeral home -- not in a temple. Sending flowers is normally considered appropriate.

Flowers are usually welcomed and appreciated. For deliveries to the church, please confirm details with the parish, as practices may vary with regard to casket sprays, where flowers may be displayed, etc.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons
Most floral tributes are encouraged and appropriate, excpet flowers arranged on a cross or crucifix. Funerals are not normally held inside the temple.

Eastern Orthodox
During the period before burial (three days after death), flowers may be sent to the funeral home. There is often an emphasis on white flowers. Some placement restrictions may apply. Those unable to attend the funeral may send flowers to the funeral home or the family home.

Other Christian Faiths
Floral expressions of all kinds are generally welcome at funerals and memorial services. Of course, individual churches may have their own limitations on placement.

Hindus try to hold a service at a funeral home before the sun goes down on the day of the death. Flowers generally may be sent, although doing so isn't necessarily part of the Hindu tradition. Garlands and mixed seasonal sprays of flowers are typical.

Opinion varies as to the appropriateness of sending flowers. Some say the Islamic emphasis on simplicity makes gifts of flowers unsuitable. Others say sending flowers is appropriate. Seek the opinion of a local religious leader or the family. If flowers are appropriate, roses and other fragrant varieties are especially popular. Palm branches, other greens, or individual flowers are also often placed on the grave.

Sending flowers to a funeral home or burial site is not normally done. Instead, fruit and food baskets are traditionally sent to the home during the mourning period. Increasingly, however, friends are choosing to send flowers to bereaved family members at home following the funeral. Similarly, it's becoming more common to see some floral decorations sent to adorn the synagogue foyer. These newer traditions, however, are generally not practiced among Orthodox Jews.

For additional information, see About Sympathy Flowers and Funeral Flowers Advice.

Source: American Floral Services, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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