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Home » Flower Facts » Floral Customs of the World

Floral Customs of the World

Ethnic and Cultural Floral Customs


The cultural mosaic of Canada continues to expand and more people request floral gifts and tributes to reflect the customs of the recipient.


Most Swiss dislike flowers with strong scents.  Poinsettias are the perfect Christmas gift and funeral arrangements should be comprised of chrysanthemums or carnations.  Colours are often bluish/gray. 


Chrysanthemums signify death and are only used in funeral tributes.  Common tributes are either a wreath with a black or purple imprinted ribbon or a mixed arrangement.  It is appropriate to send to either the church or the home.  Roses are the choice for Mother's Day and mixed flower arrangements are preferred for Valentine's.


Chrysanthemums, especially white, should only be sent for funeral tributes.  The French also believe that yellow flowers suggest infidelity.  Odd numbers of blooms are also preferred - send 11 roses not 12.


Red flowers are especially appropriate for many occasions as they signify health and healing.  Remember that 16 petal variety of chrysanthemums are reserved for the Imperial Family and using commercially is a "no, no".  The elderly do not like to receive plants because it is believed the plant will cause illness to "take root" in the elderly.  Pink or red cyclamen plants are favored for Christmas and New Years is a major holiday.  Very large baskets of flowers are customary.   Colours are normally white (lilies, orchids, chrysanthemums) and perhaps a few yellow or pastel carnations.


Red is a color of good luck and happiness.  Yellow and white chrysanthemums are used only for funerals.  Tributes should be sent to the funeral service.


Incorporating small decorations is always appreciated.  The little pig and chimney sweep figurines signify good luck.  Wreaths with ribbons are the most common tribute to the service, arrangements are sent to the family's home.


United Kingdom

Funeral sprays are sent to the funeral home, arrangements to the family's home.



Close friends and relatives appropriately send a funeral wreath, otherwise the tribute can be a spray or arrangement.  Colours should be yellow or white and sent to the church prior to the service.  The card should read "Final Greetings"  and ribbons are often in the national colours of each country.


New Zealand

Flowers sent before or after the day of the service must go to the family's home.


Latin America

Yellow is a colour associated with death and funerals.  Sprays, arrangements and crosses are accepted funeral tributes.



Floral arrivals after the funeral service signify a death wish for someone else in the family.  In Korea funeral tributes arriving after the service are merely considered distasteful.


It should be recognized that these are based on traditional values which are not necessarily shared by all individuals.

Do not hesitate to write to us if you think other floral customs should be added to this list.



Courtesy of Flowers Canada Copyright 2010 www.flowerscanada.org