Planning a funeral for a loved one, or even pre-arranging a funeral service for yourself, is an intricate process that takes thoughtful reflection and planning. From start to finish, a funeral should honor the person’s spirit and their irreplaceable value in their loved ones’ lives. There are various ways to plan a funeral service that allows for this level of personalization while celebrating the person’s life, dreams, accomplishments and legacy.
One such practice is a white dove release for funerals, which is meant to represent a final farewell between loved ones and the departed. Releasing white doves may be the perfect way to honor your loved one. The following information includes everything you need to know about the meaning of releasing doves at a funeral, the associated costs and the implications of the practice.
In a variety of contexts, white doves are seen as symbols of purity, peace and freedom. This overwhelmingly positive image assumes an even deeper meaning in the context of white dove release at funerals.
When white doves are released at funerals, they can signify family and friends’ release of their loved one’s physical presence on Earth. This practice can even represent the start of the grieving process. As the doves take flight from their basket, friends and family may imagine their loved one’s spirit moving on to the next realm, free from the bondage of sickness, old age or difficulties that they faced during their life.
It’s worth noting that the meaning behind the white dove release can change based on the number of doves released. For instance, if you choose to release just one dove, it can represent the person’s soul departing on a new spiritual journey. However, two doves could represent the departed being accompanied by a spiritual guide to what awaits in the afterlife. Lastly, a larger group of doves for funerals can be seen as a general celebration of the person’s life.
Whether the white dove release is the best choice for you or your loved one also depends on the funeral’s budget. The number of doves, as well as any decorations, music or props that accompany them, will directly impact the price. On average, a pair of white doves will cost around $150, with some companies offering different packages (i.e., 8 doves for $175 or 21 doves for $250).
The doves are typically released from wicker baskets that are included in the offer. Some packages will even allow family members to release one or two doves prior to the larger dove release. Allowing close friends and family to release the dove — or doves — adds a level of intimacy to the practice that makes it even more meaningful. Overall, the prices for the white dove release range from around $100 for a single dove to $250+ for more doves.
Yet another aspect that makes a white dove release a fitting practice for funerals is that white doves are symbolically meaningful across many religions. They are not associated with one religion or form of spirituality more than another. In this way, white doves have come to be universal signs of peace, hope and sanctity for all.
That being said, a white dove release may have a slightly different meaning for various funerals, depending on each person’s religious affiliation. For example, in Christianity, white doves are often a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In Islam, white doves can represent divine intervention and assistance, while in Judaism, they are signs of vibrant life. In Paganism, doves most often represent Inanna-Ishtar, the goddess of love.
Originating about 5,000 years ago, white dove release is a historical practice that has its roots in Egypt. However, the practice was not limited to Egypt — white doves soon became a popular and impactful symbol across the globe. In fact, they were used in Greek, Roman, European and Chinese cultures in a number of settings.
For weddings, Ancient Greek and Roman grooms would give their bride a dove to represent the promise to care for her family. However, for funerals, a white dove release typically signified the spirit’s flight back “home” after their passing. This message has persisted, evolving to accommodate different cultures’ beliefs throughout the years. Regardless of the variations, the practice continues to carry a positive, hopeful connotation around the world.
If you plan to use doves at a funeral, it’s important to ensure that they are kept and released in the best conditions possible. First, know that the doves are trained to return to their “home,” or the place that they are kept. Trained doves can easily make their way back home after a release — their homing abilities span over 600 miles. That being said, it’s essential to choose a reputable dove handler that has plenty of experience working with and releasing doves.
It’s equally important to note that doves cannot navigate home after dark. For this reason, they should only be released during the daytime, when they have plenty of visibility. Lastly, in order to protect the doves from danger, consider the season in which you are planning to release them. Remember that birds of prey are more likely to be present in the late fall and winter, so, ideally, doves should be released in the spring and summer.
Each of the factors above can help you decide if a white dove release is the right choice for your or your loved one’s funeral service. Think about your budget, how many doves you can afford to release and whether a dove release will suit the tone of the funeral. If you would like to include an interactive element in the service, a dove release can be an impactful way to engage close friends and family. Moreover, releasing a dove — or multiple doves — can be a gentle way to start the grieving process for all who are in attendance. To incorporate a symbol of purity, hope, love and freedom into the service, a white dove release may be the right choice for you.
Planning a beautiful, respectful funeral service for yourself or your loved one can be an overwhelming process. But, don’t worry; our compassionate team at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home is here to help. Our highly experienced staff can make a difficult time easier for you and your family while staying within your budget and respecting your wishes.
If you are considering pre-planning a service or you’re currently planning a service for your loved one around Queen Creek, AZ, connect with our team at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home. If you have questions and need some guidance, we’re here for you. Fill out our simple contact form or give us a call at (480) 888-2682 today.