The role of flowers in the personalization of Christian funerals in Denmark
Reintoft Christensen, Henrik (2023-03-08)
Reintoft Christensen, Henrik
The Donner Institute
Flowers are a common element in Danish funerals. Drawing on fieldnotes, interviews and survey data on funeral practices in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark as well as theories of ritualization, meaning-making and practices, this article shows that flowers are not only a sine qua non in the funerals but are also used to make them more personal and to produce and reproduce social relations. Additionally, flowers are material objects and acquire their social meaning in the right ceremonial context. Outside this context they have no inherent meaning and might even obstruct the ceremony because, as physical objects, they have to be put somewhere in ceremonial space. Paradoxically, flowers are ubiquitous yet invisible.