sympathy's floral evolution
in each region of the country share how their funeral and memorial
requests have changed.
by Kelsey E. Smith
Placing flowers around the deceased is the oldest form
of human ritual, believed to have occurred as early as 62,000 years ago
in the Shanidar Cave in what is now northern Iraq. However, as burial
traditions evolve, so do the ways in which flowers are used.
The Cremation Association of North America (CANA)
estimates 36 percent of deaths in the United States resulted in
cremation in 2008, the last year for which statistics are available.
That’s compared to 26 percent in 2000, and the association predicts
nearly 59 percent of deaths will be cremated by 2025.
This trend, along with tribute personalization and the
constant battle of the “In lieu of flowers...” wording in obituaries,
are some of the issues and concepts today’s florists face. With a nod to
regional differences in the sympathy market, we asked four florists in
different areas of the United States to share their observations and
experiences regarding today’s tributes.
steadfast traditions and
not surprisingly, due to the deep-rooted traditions and religious
customs in the region in which they’re located, the five states with the
lowest cremation rates all are in the “Bible Belt” of the southeastern
United States. In the heart of this region, Mississippi has the lowest
cremation rate, accounting for only 11 percent of deaths.
Robert Whitley, owner of Whitley’s Flowers in Jackson, Miss.,
says that although cremations have risen slightly over the past
decade, traditional funeral services still reign in his area,
predominantly due to strong Christian customs. Cremation flowers
account for only about 5 percent to 10 percent of sympathy
services for the family-owned business, which opened in 1947.
In Nevada, the state with the highest percentage of
cremations—nearly 70 percent—Mike Fiannaca, vice president of
Sparks Florist, in Reno and Sparks, says floral arrangements for
cremations account for at least 25 percent of the stores’
sympathy business, and that figure is growing rapidly.
“Cremations have become very popular, and customers often say it
is an attempt to control costs,” he explains. “This has resulted
in an increase in urn arrangements and picture adornments.”
increase in cremation rates across the country still presents an
opportunity for flowers. Here, an urn is the focal point of a
tribute design from Sparks Florist.
To read more look to the August 2010 issue of Florists' Review.
Contact Kelsey Smith at email@example.com or (800) 367-4708.
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