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Floral Tributes

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The adoption of flowers throughout ceremonies such as weddings, birthday celebrations and specifically funeral services has been prominent for many centuries, and are often placed as decorations or presented as a gift or gesture for special occasions. The symbolic nature of a flower however represents a more delicate view of the human life as it could be said that a flower's transition from birth to death portrays that of our own life cycles. The various stages of a flower seem to be the ultimate embodiment of the cycle of life, with the essence of human life captured specifically within a Rose. A single rose begins as a seed buried in the soil, emerges as small sprout and begins the budding process, to then blossom with each individual petal aging at a different pace. The wilting petals of a rose signifies the many aspects of our life which we either need or choose to depart from as we mature and age, such as the innocence of a child beginning to shed through the transition to adulthood, and our desires for childhood characteristics inevitably fades. Another example is the loss of a significant person or life-long partner, as the grieving process inevitably re-directs our lives and forces us to adapt to the change quickly.

Furthermore, the colour of each flower can represent an in-depth review of our emotions, as each colour of flower is representative of our various feelings and thoughts towards another person when presenting them with flowers or placing them on a loved one's grave.

Red: Immortal love, Sacrifice, Faith, Intrigue, Passion, Devotion, Timelessness, Enduring.

White: Intelligence, Beauty, Purity, Acceptance, Cleansing, Clarity.

Pink: Innocence, Healing, Honor, Elegance, Cherished, Friendship, Adoration.

Yellow: Joy, Mature, Lifelong love, Understanding, Wisdom, Partnership, Wholesome.

Purple: Intense, Painful, Soul-mate, Expression, Emotional depth, Connection.

Blue: Tranquil, Unburdened, Imaginative, Serenity, Overcoming struggles, Adaptive.

Green: Health, Youth, Peace of mind, Friendship, Regenerate, Compassion.

Orange: Warmth, Appreciation, Growth, Forgiveness, Remembrance, Friendship.

Roses: A common flower fashioned for funeral wreaths, the rose is symbolic for many reasons depending on their colour and has been depicted throughout history time and time again. During the Renaissance, a rose with eight petals became the symbol of rebirth. In Greek mythology roses are commonly associated with the goddess of love Aphrodite, who often wore a halo of roses in memoriam of her slain lover Adonis. Throughout history, mythology and art, roses are portrayed as the representative of an unwavering love or an immortal union through both life and death. The notion of a rose decorating a funeral service or being laid on top of a burial site can signify an intensely heartfelt loss of a significant other.

Carnation: Carnations are a unique flower that can be found fashioning various color designs and have been apart of history since the Ancient Roman times, if not before. Throughout Roman folklore, the carnation was believed to have blossomed after the Crucifixion from the fallen tears of Mary who wept

for the death of her son, Jesus.This led to the theory that the word 'carnation' was derived from 'incarnation'. Today however, Carnations are the representative of a distinctive love that left a great significance in our lives. Carnations are the symbol for Mother's Day, however are commonly used in sympathy arrangements for a significant person who contributed to our lives greatly, such as a parent, mentor or teacher etc.

Gerbera: One of the five most popular flowers worldwide, a Gerbera is the least sorrowful out of the bunch. Although commonly assorted as a sympathy arrangement, the Gerbera represents a more positive outlook in overcoming the loss of a loved one. Often referred to as the 'happy flower', the Gebera could be compared to the sunshine, as the various shades of this flower represent that of a sunset. Which could furthermore signify the ending of a life or beginning of a new challenge, ultimately enabling the essence of change and acceptance. The Gerbera is most polite to give to a friend or co-worker who might be dealing with loss and grief.

Hydrangea: An elegant flower often adopted for both weddings and funerals, the Hydrangea symbolizes very diverse interpretations and is often best paired with another flower to clarify all meaning. The complexity of the Hydrangea makes it acceptable for many occasions as it symbolizes any heartfelt emotion that is sincere. In Japanese tradition, the Hydrangea is strongly associated with gratitude and guilt, often being presented as an apologetic gift as displayed by an Emperor who presented his lover with Hydrangeas after neglecting her for his own business. Due to the extravagance of the flower however, the Hydrangea can often symbolize pride for oneself, boasting of abundance and prosperity and a disinterest in a romantic proposal.

Lily: Lilies are the most common flower embedded within funeral services as they mainly represent innocence and purity. Greek mythology presents a high regard for Lilies as they were once believed to originate from the milk of Hera, the queen of the gods, and direct the transition of birth and death. Though also commonly associated with the birth of a new baby or motherhood, Lilies also represent the cycle of life as it signifies both the transition of birth and the departing of a soul. The flower may bring comfort for a loved one dealing with the loss as a white lily is known for purity and adorning a helping hand for a departed soul in the transition to an afterlife.

Peony: Peonies exuberate both beauty and love and can be regarded as the marriage flower as it also represents both honor and respect. The peony is an emblem throughout Chinese culture and can be translated to 'the most beautiful' in the Chinese language. The peony is often presented in wedding arrangements to signify a true and faithful love and is regarded as a flower for the riches due to its elegant and abundant nature. For a funeral service however, peonies tend to be presented when a significant partner, such as a husband, wife or true love, passes away.

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