In many cultures and religions, colour has a special meaning. And it is no different in the Hindu religion. Hindu rituals and practices are often related to colours, flowers, and smells, and for Hindu funerals, colours have a special significance. The colours may affect the type of funeral flowers a mourner sends to the family or how the deceased is dressed for their funeral. There are also colour customs around the clothes that mourners should wear to a funeral ceremony.
In this article, we explore some of the most significant colours in a Hindu funeral flowers and their meanings.
This is the most common colour associated with a Hindu funeral. And it is also common in other funeral rites too: white lilies, for example, are the most common option for those who wish to send funeral flowers.
White is viewed as the colour of purity and Hindus believe that dressing a loved one in white will aid their soul in its journey through the ghost world. White is also the colour worn by those in the highest echelons of Hindu society and indicates someone is to be respected. To wear white to a funeral or have a flower delivery of white flowers, is, therefore, a mark of sincere respect for the deceased.
In many cultures, red is associated with love and passion but in Hindu cultures, it is actually a symbol of purity and innocence. The most common example of red being used in a Hindu funeral is for married women or young ladies. This is because red is the most common colour for a wedding dress in Hindu culture and is a symbol for blushing brides. They will often be dressed or shrouded in red cloth to highlight their purity and innocence. A funeral tribute of red may also be appropriate in this context.
Yellow indicates intelligence and education in the Hindu culture. And while it is unlikely that an individual would be dressed in yellow for their funeral, they may receive an OM tribute in this colour if they are associated with these traits. An academic, doctor or a lawyer, for example, may have a garland of yellow flowers placed around their neck to symbolise their intellect.
Saffron is a colour mix between yellow and orange and in Hindu, it is another colour that symbolises purity. Unlike red and white it likely wouldn’t be a dress choice but may be used in funeral flower tributes or other decorations for the funeral.
The colour green signifies life and living. It is therefore rarely seen during a funeral ceremony, which is focused primarily on death and afterlife. However, rituals and celebrations that occur after the funeral may incorporate green into their colour mix to mark the life of the deceased and the cycle of life in general. Green is rarely used in funeral flower arrangements.
In Hindu, the colour blue is a symbol of determination and courage. A Hindu funeral tribute may use blue flowers of decoration to honour someone viewed as having these traits. This may be the case if they did something heroic in their life, or even if they struggled through a difficult illness. Blue is often used in combination with other colours, rather than purely on its own, and few Hindus will be buried in blue clothing.
In all cases of colour, the funeral flowers will often be the most appropriate way to incorporate it, and flowers have an important role in Hindu funerals. A garland of flowers is typically placed around the deceased’s neck during the cleansing rites, and having a flower delivery from mourners prior to the funeral is extremely common.