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Flowers that Symbolize Empathy and Remembrance December 17, 2020

Marguerite Tree Daisy

Giving flowers and placing them around the deceased has roots from ancient times, although the purpose has changed. Prior to modern embalming practices, for example, flowers were used to mask any unpleasant odors, especially in warmer climates. Today, flowers are generally given both as a sign of love and respect for the deceased, and as a form of sympathy for the loved ones left behind.

Certain flowers have traditionally been given as a form of sorrow and compassion. Here are some of the more popular flowers that symbolize empathy and remembrance.


Lilies are one of the most popular and symbolic flowers to gift for a funeral. Lilies are said to represent the soul of the deceased and its rebirth. For religious services, white lilies are particularly appropriate.


Roses are a universal symbol of love and respect. This makes them a perfect choice for funerals. While red roses symbolize love, other colors have meaning as well. Yellow roses, for example, are a good choice in recognizing the life of a good friend. Pink roses are a sign of gratefulness and appreciation. Deep colored red roses are a sign of deep love and affection.


Poppies are recognized worldwide as a symbol of respect and remembrance. They are often used to honor and remember those who have served their countries.


The purple hyacinth specifically, represents sorrow, regret and forgiveness. It can symbolize regretfulness at things not said or troubling issues unresolved.

White Tulip

White tulips are frequently given in a show of respect and worthiness. Since they also symbolize regret they can be a good choice for those who feel the need to apologize.


Carnations are fragrant and long lasting. Their colors also carry specific meanings. White represents innocence and purity for example, while pink is a sign of remembrance. Carnations are frequently given in mixed colors to symbolize a range of thoughts and emotions.


These flowers represent strength and character. For this reason they are a good choice to give family, since they indicate support through trying times.


If a grieving family has ties to Europe or Asia, chrysanthemums can be an appropriate flower to send. In many European countries they are used to decorate the grave of loved ones. White chrysanthemums are a sign of sorrow and grief in the East.

Of course, your florist will be able to make further suggestions on the type of flowers or an arrangement that may be perfect for you.

Keep in mind that more families are requesting donations or memorials in place of flowers. Be sure to check the obituary or contact the funeral home to see if there have been any such requests.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we are proud to have been able to serve generations of families in the Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati area. If you are new to the area, or otherwise don’t have a “family” funeral home in the region, we would be grateful to have an opportunity to serve you. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

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