Meaning of the Colors of Funeral Flowers

by Hilary Reeves

Funeral flowers are special because they are sent both to celebrate the life of the deceased and to comfort the ones left behind. Both objectives can be achieved through color. Regardless of the type of flower selected for funeral arrangements, the color of the flowers is symbolic and oftentimes more important than the flower itself, steeped in tradition that dates back thousands of years.

Blue

Blue seems an obvious choice for funeral flowers, as some equate the color blue with sadness. In fact, blue traditionally is thought to calm anxiety and represents peace, calmness, openness and serenity and tranquility. Blue blooms can also be patriotic when paired with red and white. Hydrangea and iris are examples of blue flowers found at funerals.

Green

Green, like blue, is a cool, soothing color, often synonymous with nature and representing health, resilience, good fortune and youth. And just like in the natural birth-death cycle of all living things, green indicates renewal --- a perfect message for those left behind.

Yellow

Evoking joy and lightheartedness, the color yellow may seem like an odd fit for what is often a sad occasion, but yellow is also symbolic of friendship and new beginnings, zapping any melancholy and acting as a springboard for the subtleties of other colors when paired together. Yellow flowers can turn a funeral into a celebration of life.

Red

Red is a power color that evokes energy, desire, strength and --- most often --- romantic love, with shades ranging in tone from crimson to tomato. Red symbolizes beauty, courage and heat. Darker red flowers signify love, while bright reds signify passion. The red rose is a classic choice in funeral arrangements.

Orange

A combination of red and yellow, orange is a bold color, symbolizing energy, enthusiasm and warmth. Tones range from vermilion to ginger. Orange flowers are perfect for celebrating the life of someone who showed confidence, satisfaction and a passion for life.

Purple

Purple has long been known as a "royal" color, linked to ceremonies reticent with dignity, pride and success. The color purple is also symbolic of accomplishment, respect and admiration, appropriate feelings when celebrating the end of a life.

Pink

Pink is a less-intense version of red and is thought to be symbolic of grace, gentility and happiness. There is a wide selection of pink varieties to choose from in selecting flowers. In addition, the color pink is often tied to the childlike qualities of youth, innocence and joy, making pink a perfect color for flowers at a child's funeral.

Lavender

Lavender, a perfect cross of royal purple and youthful pink, holds great appeal at funerals. Representing refinement, modesty, grace and elegance, many violet flowers are considered to be nature's most delicate. Lavender flowers are perhaps most appropriate at the funerals of beautiful and refined women.

White

Associated with innocence, humility and reverence, white is a beautiful choice in funeral arrangements. Symbolic of modesty, elegance and, of course, purity, the white petals of such flowers as gardenias, lily of the valley and white roses are appropriate for funerals.

About the Author

Hilary Reeves began her writing career in 2001, often covering business and politics. She has been published in various Seattle-area newspapers, including "The Enumclaw Courier-Herald," "The Port Orchard Independent" and "The Business Examiner," where she worked as a managing editor. Reeves received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Washington.

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