Different colours and their meanings in Buddhist funeral traditions

Different colours and their meanings in Buddhist funeral traditions

Different colours communicate different messages and meanings. Often, these meanings are culture- or religion-specific. Similarly, when it comes to Buddhist funeral traditions, there are a few significant colours to note. Let’s find out what they are this instant.


A Buddhist funeral setup by Direct Funeral Services featuring a calming tone of white. 

The colour white carries various positive meanings in Buddhism. These include longevity, learning, knowledge, and you guessed it: purity. As such, it’s common to see white flowers being used in Buddhist farewells. Since white is also associated with death, Buddhist mourners in Singapore wear white tops as well to convey their grief and respect for their departed kin.


Have you ever walked past a wake at the void deck and noticed that the tentage was yellow? That could be a Buddhist funeral, as yellow is a symbol of humility and detachment from materialism in the Buddhist faith. Additionally, the colour represents the notion of enlightenment (nirvana)—the ultimate goal in Buddhism, where one is free from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.


In Buddhism, pink stands for compassion. The lotus flower, which is synonymous with Buddhism, is itself pink in colour. And because pink is such a gentle and pleasing shade, it’s not uncommon for Buddhist families to request for the addition of light pink blooms in the funeral flower arrangements for their loved ones.

What colours to avoid at a Buddhist funeral

What colours to avoid at a Buddhist funeral

Red may be an auspicious hue in Chinese culture, but it’s not necessary to avoid the colour in funerals. In fact, it can be used to celebrate a life well lived.

Buddhist or not, it’s widely believed that the colour red should be avoided altogether when attending or planning a Chinese funeral. Although red is an auspicious shade used in celebratory events, there are instances where families choose to wear red when sending a significant person off on their final journey. And that is when the deceased is aged 90 or above. This is because wearing red symbolises that their loved ones had led a good life. In other words, it can be seen that the funeral is as much a celebration of a life well lived as it is a solemn affair.

We are here to guide you on all things funeral related. For assistance, please email us at info@directfuneral.com.sg or call our 24-hour helpline at +65 6555 1115.