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Sending Sympathy Flowers for Asian Funerals: What Is Appropriate and What Is Not


In the US, sending sympathy flowers after the demise of a loved one or even an acquaintance is generally considered a normal gesture of condolence and comfort. But did you know that culture and religion play a vital role in sympathy flower etiquette? In Asian cultures, for instance, flowers are mostly considered appropriate but you need to keep in mind that certain colors and types of flowers may not send the right message. Also, since Asian culture spans numerous nationalities and religions, there are unique traditions and beliefs in every family that need to be honored and respected

If you aren’t familiar with funeral flower etiquette for different Asian cultures, here are a few tips that will help you select an apt arrangement to express your sympathy:

  • Chinese

    • In Chinese culture and most Asian cultures, color symbolism is very significant, which applies to sympathy or funeral flowers as well.
    • Since the color white is associated with death and grief, white flowers like lilies and chrysanthemums are always appreciated. Yellow chrysanthemums are also considered suitable.
    • Avoid giving red flowers, as red symbolizes happiness and celebration, and sending red flowers is akin to mocking the bereaved.
  • Korean

    • In Korea, individuals are not expected to send sympathy flowers. Businesses and organizations, however, do send in standing wreaths.
    • If you wish to send flowers, white and yellow chrysanthemums are the most appropriate choices.
  • Japanese

    • Much like Korean culture, sympathy flowers aren’t really the norm in Japanese culture
    • The flowers that feature in a Japanese funeral are usually chosen by the immediate family.
    • It is more appropriate to send “koden,” which is a monetary gift that friends and family send to those in mourning to help with the funeral expenses. The amount is dictated by custom.
    • If you want to express your sympathy, you can send “hanawa,” which are large funeral wreaths that have the sender’s name written on them. They are customarily burned with the body.
  • South Asian

    South Asian culture is vast and diverse, but Islam and Hinduism are the two most common religions, in addition to Buddhism.

    • At a Hindu funeral, you aren’t expected to bring any flowers, but garlands are often offered to the deceased. Since flowers aren’t generally considered a sympathy gift in Hindu culture, you can also send in a traditional sympathy bouquet or plant.
    • Depending on the family’s specific beliefs, it may or may not be appropriate to send sympathy flowers to a Muslim family in mourning. So, before you send any, it would be best to ask a family member or a religious leader. Keep the arrangement simple with light-colored flowers.
    • In Buddhist funerals, flowers like white lilies, chrysanthemums, and carnations as well as yellow and other light-colored flowers are accepted.

Angie’s Flowers offers a selection of the most beautiful funeral-appropriate blooms, which include casket sprays, sympathy bouquets, standing sprays and wreaths, sympathy plants, and more. Get in touch with us if you wish to deliver funeral flowers to Hillcrest Funeral Home or any other location in El Paso.


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