Having flower girls at a funeral was not a concept I’d ever heard of before. Yet, while paging through the Zion Lutheran Church 100th Anniversary (1900-2000) book from Kramer, North Dakota, I found reference to it. This was the church that my mother grew up in, but I never heard her speak of this custom.
The flower girls would carry the flowers into the church ahead of the casket and then the undertakers would place them. Afterwards, they would carry the flowers back out to the cemetery.
Referencing an article by Amanda Green, “For a hundred years or more, being asked to be a flower bearer at a funeral was an honor bestowed on nieces, granddaughters and friends of the family. At least 40 years ago, girls as young as 7 or 8, relatives of the family of the deceased, often were asked to carry flowers at the funeral.
During the 1970’s, the tradition gradually shifted to older girls and adults, according to area funeral directors.”
Though the tradition of flower bearers is still alive in some Southern black communities today, 70 years ago, the tradition was common at both black and white funerals.”
“Before the funeral [a young girl] brought in the flowers on stands into the church and sat with the family of the deceased. . . After the funeral, she toted them out to the hearse and repeated the arrangement at the grave site.
These pictures show the girls wearing white, but there doesn’t seem to be a historical explanation for that.
But at predominantly white services, flower bearers aren’t common, and of those, were more frequent at country funerals.
This is just something I was never exposed to. Have you had an experience with funeral flower girls? Do you have a funeral flower girl story to share?
“Caring For The Special Needs Of Our Community” Dobratz-Hantge Chapel, Hutchinson, Minnesota