Asian Funeral Flowers

One of our most cherished traditions in the US is the practice of sending flowers to a funeral or memorial service to let family and friends know that we care and are thinking of them. However, it is challenging to know what kinds of flowers are the most appropriate for the family. Asian cultures, including Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Korean, have unique religious and cultural traditions and beliefs and there are customs and practices which differ within those religions. In Asian funerals, the color of the flowers is important. Usually, white flowers are typically the safest and best choice. Yellow chrysanthemums are also a traditional funeral flower when honoring the Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures.

In the Chinese culture, fresh cut flowers are appreciated but artificial flowers are acceptable as well. White or yellow lilies and chrysanthemums, as well as white roses, are excellent choices. In Korean funerals, flowers are usually sent by businesses and organizations which typically send large flower stands with flowing ribbons and white chrysanthemums are usually the most appropriate flowers to send.

Flowers are generally not a significant element of a Japanese funeral. However, if you want to send flowers, white and yellow lilies and chrysanthemums are an excellent choice. In Japanese culture, ‘koden’ is a better sympathy expression than flowers. ‘Koden’ is a gift of money that is given to help the family alleviate funeral expenses. Large funeral wreaths called ‘hanawa’ are sometimes sent and customarily burned or cremated along with the body. It is wise to be aware that there are three major religions common in Asian cultures including Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim. In the Buddhist religion, red is considered to be inappropriate because it is color that is usually associated with joy. Although flowers may be an important component of Hindu funeral tradition, it is not customary to send them to the family. There are several schools of thought relating to sending flowers to a Muslim family, so the wisest course of action is to speak with the family.

Polchinski Memorials in Hawthorne, New York is well known for its sensitivity and respect for every culture. We have been helping families decide on the best way to memorialize their loved ones for over 135 years. Regardless of what kind of headstone or monument you want, what religion you practice and what countries your ancestors were born, we can help you make the best choice to pay homage to your loved one. Please call us for more information at 914-984-4198 or 203-413-1345. You can also email us at


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