Choosing the Right Sympathy Flowers for Buddhist Funerals
In the UK, it is considered the norm to include flowers at a funeral. There are certain flowers that you may associate with funerals, including lilies, carnations, and roses. However, flowers feature differently at Buddhist funerals, and some certain plants and flowers hold great significance. So before you head off to your nearest florist in search of the typical funeral or sympathy bouquet, discover which flowers are included at Buddhist funerals, and when it is appropriate for non-family members to gift them to the family of the deceased.
There are many different variations within Buddhism, which result in there being assorted customs and rituals at funerals, dependent on the particular form of Buddhism being practised. However, certain flowers appear to be used at most Buddhist funeral ceremonies.
Flowers Used During the Funeral Ceremony
It is custom that the body of the deceased is not touched for four hours after the death as Buddhists believe that the soul does not immediately leave the body after death. It is also usual for the body to be cremated rather than buried. However, a ceremony will still be held to honour the passing of the deceased into their next life. Flowers play an important part in Buddhist funeral ceremonies. Typically, Buddhist funeral flowers are white. The family will also wear white, but mourners usually wear black. Yet, both yellow and white flowers are used at Buddhist funerals. Chrysanthemums are a popular choice at funerals. These flowers will adorn the casket and pictures of the deceased.
Sending Flowers to the Family of the Deceased
In the UK, it is usual to see red flowers included in sympathy and funeral flowers. However, as any experienced florist will tell you, red flowers should not be sent to the family if they are Buddhist. This is because red symbolises celebration. Sending flowers to the family is a thoughtful way to express your condolences. The period of mourning can last for several days, but you can still organise a flower delivery during this time. Other flowers that are common to send include lilies and lotus flowers. These flowers signify freedom, peace, and purity, which are fitting symbols as Buddhists believe in reincarnation and that the soul leaves the body of the dead to begin a new life. The lotus flower is of particular importance as it symbolises the highest level of spiritual being.
When to Send Flowers for the Funeral
If the family of the deceased are accepting flowers, you should send them directly to the temple or the venue where the ceremony is taking place. It isn’t appropriate to bring the flowers with you on the day of the ceremony. The best way to ensure the flowers arrive on time is to speak with your chosen flower shops to ensure they are aware the flowers are for a funeral, or to arrange next day flower delivery or even same day flower delivery if you need to buy flowers at the very last minute. The family may request that charity donations be sent instead of flowers, and this request should be respected. The family will organise the flowers for the funeral themselves should this be the case.
There are many similarities within the rituals of Buddhist funeral ceremonies, such as the flowers used and the flowers you can send in your chosen sympathy bouquet. However, the fact that red flowers should not be gifted should be noted to avoid being disrespectful to the family and friends of the deceased.