Discovering the Meanings: What Flower Symbolize Death and Its Significance

Flowers are some of the most beautiful and meaningful gifts that we give to one another. While many flowers represent love, friendship, and happiness, some have more somber meanings. One such flower is the lily, which has been a symbol of death for centuries. Its grim connotation makes it a popular choice for funerals and other occasions where we mourn the loss of a loved one.

The lily has been associated with death since ancient times. In Greek mythology, the flower is said to have grown from the tears of the goddess Hera when her stepson, Heracles, was born. It is also said that the lily was created by Eve’s tears when she was banished from the Garden of Eden. In Christian tradition, the lily represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is often used in Easter decorations. However, in more modern times, the flower has become a common symbol of mourning.

Despite its association with death, the lily is still a beautiful and meaningful flower that can bring comfort to those who are grieving. Whether it is presented as a gift to the family of a deceased loved one or used in a funeral bouquet, this flower is a touching tribute to the memory of someone who has passed away. Despite its sad meaning, the lily is a reminder that we can find beauty and meaning even in the darkest moments of life.

Flowers commonly associated with death

Flowers have been used to symbolize various emotions and occasions for centuries. Sadly, death is one of the occasions for which flowers are often used as a symbol. The type of flower used to convey condolences varies by country, region, culture, and religion. Here are some of the flowers commonly associated with death in different traditions:

  • Lilies: Lilies come in several colors, but white lilies, in particular, are considered the most appropriate flowers for funerals and are widely used in Christian and Catholic traditions. They symbolize the restoration of innocence to the soul of the deceased person and the hope of resurrection.
  • Chrysanthemums: In Asian cultures and Japan, chrysanthemums are used almost exclusively for funerals. They represent death, grief, and sorrow. Therefore, they should not be brought as gifts for joyous occasions such as weddings or congratulatory events.
  • Roses: Roses are generally regarded as the ultimate symbol of love and beauty, but their colors convey different messages. Dark red and black roses are often used in funerals to symbolize death and mourning.

Cultural significance of flowers in funerary practices

Flowers have played an important role in funerary practices across cultures and time. The use of flowers in funerals has been traced back to ancient Egypt and Rome, where they were used to adorn tombs and show respect to the deceased.

  • In Ancient China, white flowers symbolized mourning and were commonly used in funerals.
  • In Hindu funerals, marigolds are used to decorate the casket and are believed to guide the soul to the afterlife.
  • In Western cultures, lilies and roses are often used in funerals to symbolize purity, innocence, and love.

Flowers also hold symbolic meanings that convey messages of condolence and comfort. When it comes to choosing funeral flowers, it’s important to consider the cultural significance of flowers as well as their symbolism.

Below is a table that outlines the meanings of some popular funeral flowers:

Flower Meaning
Lilies Purity, innocence, and peace
Roses Love and respect
Chrysanthemums Death, mourning, and grief (commonly used in Asian cultures)
Carnations Love and commitment

Understanding the cultural significance and symbolism of flowers can help us choose the appropriate funeral flowers to express our condolences and honor the deceased.

Historical use of flowers in mourning rituals

Flowers have been intertwined with funerals and mourning rituals since ancient times. In fact, the use of flowers during funerals dates back to 62,000 BC. Flowers were used to adorn the caskets and graves of the dead and signified the transition of life to death.

As time passed, different cultures and religions assigned different meanings to different flowers. For example, in Japan, white flowers like lilies and chrysanthemums were prevalent in funeral arrangements, while in Mexico, marigolds were used for Day of the Dead celebrations.

  • The Greeks and Romans used flowers heavily as part of their mourning rituals and ceremonies.
  • In Victorian England, the language of flowers became a popular way of expressing emotions and sending messages of love, grief, and sympathy during funerals.
  • In the United States, the tradition of sending funeral flowers to the bereaved dates back to the Civil War era.

Along with the different meanings assigned to flowers, the number and color of flowers used also hold significance in many cultures. For instance, in Islamic funerals, it is customary to use an odd number of flowers, while in many Asian cultures, white flowers are the preferred color for funerals.

Here is a table of some common flowers and their meanings in the context of mourning:

Flower Meaning
Lilies Purity and innocence
Roses Love and respect
Chrysanthemums Death and grief
Carnations Devotion and eternal love

Overall, the use of flowers in funeral and mourning rituals serves as a way to honor and pay respects to the deceased while also providing comfort and emotional support to the bereaved.

Symbolic meanings of different colored flowers for death

Flowers have been used to express emotions, feelings, and messages for centuries. One of the most common occasions where flowers play an important role is during funerals. Different colored flowers carry different meanings and symbolize different emotions that are associated with death. Here are the symbolic meanings of different colored flowers for death:

  • Red flowers: These flowers are often associated with love, passion, and strong emotions. They are not generally used at funerals, as they are seen as inappropriate for such somber occasions.
  • Yellow flowers: These flowers are commonly associated with friendship and joy; however, they can also symbolize the end of something or unrequited love. They are not the best choice for a funeral, as they may send the wrong message.
  • White flowers: These flowers are the most commonly used flowers for funerals, as they symbolize purity, innocence, peace, and humility. They are also associated with spirituality and faith.
  • Black flowers: These flowers are not natural, but they are often used as a symbol of death or the end of something. They are not commonly used at funerals, as they are seen as too dark and morbid.
  • Purple flowers: These flowers are associated with respect, dignity, and pride. They are often used at funerals for veterans or public figures.

While the color of the flower is important, the number of flowers being sent is also significant. In many cultures and traditions, the number 4 is associated with death and bad luck. Therefore, larger floral arrangements or bouquets should avoid containing precisely four flowers.

No. Flower Type Symbolic Meaning
1. Rose Love
2. Carnation Admiration
3. Lily Peace
4. Tulip Rebirth

When it comes to sending flowers to a funeral, it is essential to consider the appropriate flower color and type to ensure that the message and emotion being conveyed are respectful and sincere.

Flowers used in cemetery decorations

Flowers are often used to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away. Decorating gravesites with flowers is a common way to show respect and love for those who have left this world. Different cultures and religions have varying beliefs about which flowers are appropriate for use in cemetery decorations. However, some flowers have become universal symbols of death and mourning.

Flowers that Symbolize Death

  • Lily: In Christian traditions, the lily symbolizes the resurrection of Christ and the hope of eternal life. However, it is also associated with funerals and cemeteries, representing the restored innocence of the soul of the deceased.
  • Chrysanthemum: In many cultures, the chrysanthemum is the ultimate symbol of death. In Japan, it is associated with gravesites and is used almost exclusively for funerals and memorials. It symbolizes the fleeting nature of life.
  • White Roses: White roses are often used to symbolize purity and innocence. In death, they represent the purity and innocence of the deceased, as well as the hope of a new beginning.

Floral Arrangements for Cemetery Decorations

When choosing flowers for cemetery decorations, it is important to keep in mind that the arrangement will be exposed to the elements and may need to withstand wind and rain. Silk floral arrangements are a good option if you want something that will last a long time with little maintenance.

Some popular floral arrangements for cemetery decorations include:

  • Wreaths: A wreath is a circular floral arrangement that can be displayed on a stand or hung on a gravesite. It is a classic symbol of the circle of life and death.
  • Crosses: Crosses are often used in Christian traditions to symbolize the death and resurrection of Jesus. They can be made from fresh flowers or silk and can be displayed on a stand or hung on a gravesite.
  • Urn Arrangements: Urn arrangements are often used in mausoleums and indoor crypts. They are usually made from silk flowers and can be displayed in a vase or urn.


Flowers have always been an important part of remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away. Cemetery decorations with flowers bring comfort and peace to families of the deceased, and the symbolism of flowers helps mourners remember the joy and love shared with their loved one that has now passed.

Flower Meaning
Lily Restored innocence and the hope of eternal life
Chrysanthemum The fleeting nature of life
White Roses The purity and innocence of the deceased, as well as the hope of a new beginning

When decorating a gravesite with flowers, it is important to choose the right ones that can withstand the elements and have appropriate symbolism. Whether you choose silk or fresh flowers, wreaths, crosses or urn arrangements, the act of decorating a gravesite shows your love and respect for those that have passed on.

Floral arrangements for funeral services

Flowers and funeral services have always gone hand in hand. Flowers have a way of bringing hope and comfort to a somber event, and they are often used to express sympathy and condolences to the grieving family. Funeral flowers are chosen specifically to honor the memories of the deceased and to provide a source of comfort during a difficult time.

The Symbolism of Flowers for Death

  • White lilies are a popular funeral flower as they symbolize the restoration of the soul of the deceased to a state of innocence.
  • Chrysanthemums are the traditional funeral flower in many parts of the world, including Japan and China. They are a symbol of death and are often used to decorate graves.
  • Roses are an elegant and classic choice for funeral floral arrangements. They come in a variety of colors, each with its own unique meaning. Red roses symbolize love and respect, while pink roses represent grace and admiration. White roses, which are often used in funeral arrangements, symbolize purity and innocence.

The Number 6 in Funeral Flower Arrangements

The number six is significant in funeral flower arrangements and is often used in displays. This is because six is considered the perfect number in many cultures, symbolizing harmony, balance, and completeness. Hence, a flower arrangement with six flowers represents wholeness, and its beauty helps to lift the somber mood of the funeral service.

Examples of Funeral Floral Arrangements with Six Flowers Meaning
Six white roses A symbol of peace and innocence
Six white lilies A symbol of restored innocence
Six chrysanthemums A symbol of a peaceful passing and grief

Funeral floral arrangements are a beautiful way to pay tribute to a loved one who has passed away. The flowers not only provide comfort to the grieving family but also serve as a reminder of the life and legacy of the deceased. When it comes to choosing funeral flowers, it’s important to consider the personality and preferences of the deceased and the customs of their culture or religion.

Traditional funeral wreaths and their symbolism

Funeral wreaths have been used for centuries as a way to honor the deceased and provide comfort to the grieving. Each element of a traditional funeral wreath holds its own special meaning, allowing the wreath to serve as a symbolic representation of the life that was lost.

  • Flowers: The flowers used in funeral wreaths can vary greatly, but each flower can hold its own meaning. Lilies, for example, are often used to symbolize the restored innocence of the deceased, while roses can represent the love and devotion felt by those left behind.
  • Ribbon: The ribbon used to tie the wreath together also holds its own significance. Black ribbon is often used to symbolize mourning, while white ribbon represents purity and peace.
  • Greenery: The greenery used in funeral wreaths can also hold special meaning. Ivy, for example, can represent eternal life and memory, while ferns can symbolize sincerity and humility.

One particular aspect of funeral wreaths that holds significant symbolism is the number of flowers used. In many cultures, the number 7 is considered to be a powerful and meaningful number, and this is reflected in funeral wreaths as well.

The use of 7 flowers in a funeral wreath is believed to hold great significance. This number represents completion and perfection, and is often used to symbolize the idea of the journey of life coming full circle.

Flower Meaning
Lily Restored innocence of the deceased
Rose Love and devotion
Ivy Eternal life and memory
Fern Sincerity and humility

While the symbolism and meaning behind funeral wreaths can vary greatly between cultures and religions, the use of the number 7 is a powerful and meaningful way to represent the completion of a life journey and the journey’s end.

Floral Etiquette for Expressing Condolences

Expressing condolences to someone who has lost a loved one is never easy, and choosing the right flowers can be a meaningful way to convey your sympathy. However, it is important to understand the symbolism and meanings behind different flowers to avoid unintentionally causing offense during a difficult time. Here, we will explore the topic of what flower symbolizes death, as well as floral etiquette when expressing condolences.

The Number 8

  • The number 8 is considered unlucky in some cultures, including Chinese and Japanese culture, as it is associated with death.
  • When selecting flowers to express condolences in these cultures, it is important to avoid bouquets or arrangements with eight flowers or petals.
  • Instead, consider selecting an arrangement with an even number of flowers, as this is more traditional and symbolizes balance and harmony.

Other Considerations

When choosing flowers to express condolences, it is important to consider the recipient’s personal preferences and cultural background. In some cultures, certain colors or types of flowers may hold specific meanings or be associated with certain occasions. Additionally, it is important to ensure that any flowers sent are appropriate for the relationship between the sender and recipient.

When in doubt, it is always best to consult with a florist or do some research on the symbolism of different flowers before sending a condolence bouquet or arrangement.


When sending flowers to express condolences, it is important to understand the symbolism and meanings behind different flowers to ensure that the gesture is well-received. The number 8 is considered unlucky in some cultures, so it is important to avoid bouquets or arrangements with eight flowers or petals. Additionally, it is important to consider the recipient’s personal preferences and cultural background, and to ensure that any flowers sent are appropriate for the relationship between the sender and recipient.

Flower Symbolism
Lilies Symbolize the restored innocence of the soul of the deceased
Roses Often associated with love and passion, but white roses can also symbolize purity and innocence
Carnations Often used in funeral arrangements, symbolizing love and remembrance
Chrysanthemums In some cultures, chrysanthemums are considered a symbol of death and are often used at funerals

Ultimately, the most important thing is to express your sympathy and support for the bereaved in a sincere and thoughtful way.

Modern trends in funeral flowers

Funeral services have changed a lot over the years, and new trends are emerging when it comes to funeral flowers. Flowers are commonly used to commemorate a loved one who has passed away; they are also a symbol of support for family members and friends who are grieving. As people expand their choices from traditional funeral flowers, new and modern trends are emerging, with one of them being the use of the number 9.

The number 9 is significant in many cultures and religions. It’s a symbol of luck, longevity, and completeness. In addition, it’s associated with the end of a cycle, the final stage in life. Because of its significance, many families opt for arrangements featuring 9 flowers or use multiples of 9.

  • One popular way to incorporate the number 9 in funeral arrangements is to use nine roses. Roses are a classic choice, and by using nine of them, it becomes a symbol of eternal love.
  • Another way to use nine flowers is to create a circular arrangement with nine candles, representing nine stages of life.
  • A bouquet of nine different types of flowers or nine flowers of the same species can also represent a sense of completeness.
Flowers Meaning
White roses Purity, youthfulness, and innocence
Lilies Restoration of innocence
Chrysanthemums Loyalty and devotedness
Orchids Love, luxury, strength, and beauty

While using the number 9 in funeral flowers is a relatively new trend, its significance and symbolism help create arrangements that are both meaningful and beautiful.

Personalized Floral Tributes for Honoring the Deceased

Flowers are a timeless way to honor the deceased and show sympathy. Each type of flower carries a symbolic meaning, and it’s important to choose the right one to convey the appropriate message. When selecting a personalized floral tribute, consider the personality and preferences of the deceased.

  • Favorite Flowers: Pay tribute to the deceased by incorporating their favorite flowers into the arrangement. This personalized touch will make the tribute even more meaningful.
  • Favorite Colors: Incorporating the deceased’s favorite colors into the arrangement can also add a personal touch. It’s important to note that certain colors have different meanings in different cultures, so be mindful of this when selecting colors.
  • Hobbies and Interests: Take into account the deceased’s hobbies and interests. For instance, if they loved gardening, consider incorporating a floral tribute with different types of plants.

Creating personalized floral tributes can provide comfort to loved ones during a difficult time. These tributes serve as a lasting memory of the deceased and will be cherished for years to come.

When ordering the tribute, don’t be afraid to include a personalized message or note. This can help convey your sympathies and provide comfort to the grieving family.

Flower Type Symbolic Meaning
Lilies Purity and restored innocence
Roses Love and respect
Chrysanthemums Death and grief
Orchids Forgiveness and understanding

When selecting flowers for a personalized tribute, it’s important to understand their symbolic meanings. Lilies represent purity and restored innocence, while roses convey love and respect. Chrysanthemums, on the other hand, are associated with death and grief. Orchids represent forgiveness and understanding.

FAQs on Flowers that Symbolize Death

Q: What flowers are commonly associated with death?
A: The most commonly associated flowers with death are lilies, chrysanthemums, and roses.

Q: Are white lilies the only type of lilies associated with death?
A: No, all types of lilies are commonly associated with death and are often used in funerals.

Q: Are chrysanthemums only associated with death in some cultures?
A: Yes, in some cultures such as Japan and China, chrysanthemums are the traditional flower of death, but in other cultures, they are more commonly associated with fall and positive emotions.

Q: Can other flowers be used to symbolize death?
A: Yes, other flowers that are associated with mourning and death include carnations, poppies, and hyacinths.

Q: How did flowers become associated with death and mourning?
A: Flowers have been used in funerals for centuries and were believed to help mask the unpleasant odor of a decomposing body.

Q: Are flower arrangements important in funeral ceremonies?
A: Yes, flower arrangements are an essential part of funeral ceremonies in many cultures, and they are often used as a way of expressing sympathy and condolences.

Q: Is it appropriate to send flowers to the family of the deceased?
A: Yes, sending flowers to the family of the deceased is a common way of expressing sympathy and offering support during a difficult time.

Closing Thoughts

Flowers have a deep-rooted connection with death and mourning. While different cultures may associate different flowers with death, the practice of using flowers in funerals and other mourning rituals is universal. Whether it’s lilies, chrysanthemums, or roses, each flower has its unique significance and meaning, making them instrumental in commemorating the lives of the departed. We hope this guide helped you understand the symbolic meaning of flowers when it comes to death and mourning. Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you soon!