Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Funeral Flowers


Funeral Flowers Biography
In Western society, when death occurs, many cultural traditions become the focus of social groups, including wakes, funeral, and memorial services. Announcements of both the death, and the related event or events, are made in local newspapers; these announcements are known as obituaries.
The phrase in lieu of flowers or the more direct sentiment “please omit flowers” has been a part of obituary notices for well over 100 years. Around 1900, the more formal “in lieu of flowers” was common, although the more direct phrase where the word “omit” was used was gaining popularity.[citation needed] Certainly, “omit” is a stronger directive, and readers were told to make memorial contributions instead.
The use of these phrases has been on the rise for the past century. In 1927, only 6% of the obituaries included the directive, with only 2.2% of those mentioned charitable contributions as an alternative. By the middle of the century, the numbers of obituaries using either “in lieu of flowers” or “please omit flowers” had grown to 14.5%, with over 54% of those noting a charitable contribution as the preferred method of expressing sympathy.[1]
An online review of obituaries from 1921 leads one to realize the value of floral tributes was acknowledged by many – so much so that they listed them in the obituary text. Consider this list, from the March 2nd, 1921 Pennsylvania newspaper publication for Margaret Cassidy. The obituary notes that she was mother to four sets of twins, and proceeded to list her survivors as we do today. However, the second paragraph provided details on the funeral service itself; noting the names of the Catholic priests in attendance, and those of the pallbearers. Finally, there’s a list of all the types of floral tributes received:[2]
“The tributes follow: Vacant chair, daughter Eva; pillow, son Louis and family; Galax wreath, Lillie Wilson; daffodils, Josephine Palm; hyacinths, grandchildren; wreath, daughter Mamie; narcissus, Mrs. Strangler and Mrs. Hayes; daffodils, Smith family; lilies, friend: basket of carnations, friend May; daffodils, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lenich and daughters Annie and Elizabeth; carnations, Mrs. Vath; blanket, Eva and Louis; Basket of carnations, Louis, Eva and Katie; carnations, Mabel McCloskey; basket of sweet peas, Mrs. Cavanaugh and Mrs. Haggerty; carnations, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Cassidy; lilies, sister Annie and Niece; flowers, Samuel Henry.”
Nowhere in the body of that obituary was there a mention of an option to make a donation in lieu of flowers; certainly this reflects the socio-cultural importance of sympathy and tribute flowers in the early years of the 20th century. While their importance has not lessened some 90 years later – they are, after all, beautiful, and a comfort to the bereaved –the call for memorial donations has become firmly entrenched in American death rites and rituals.
Funeral Flowers
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Funeral Flowers
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Funeral Flowers

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