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Florists and Ordering Flowers in Indonesia
Indonesia is the nation with the second largest biodiversity in the world, a wonderful fact for flower lovers. From the rafflesia arnoldi to the melati, Indonesian flowers have delighted the senses and the imagination of people worldwide. Centuries of deep cultural traditions have grown around the giving and receiving of flowers, and access to many varieties has grown exponentially over the past few decades to meet the demand of consumers, both domestic and international. Due to the expense associated with flowers and arrangements, the Indonesian floral industry benefits from the flower-loving community of itinerant expatriate travelers.
How to Get Flowers in Indonesia
Indonesian florists can prepare special arrangements to order for almost any occasion, with many flower varieties and options available to suit your particular needs. Reputable dealers such as stock flowers such as roses, lilies, orchids, and tulips with many other domestic and imported varieties available by special order.
For very special occasions you can even request that a special message or picture be printed right on the outside petal of the flower!
Professional florists offer the convenience of ordering flowers online, with great photographs of bouquets to choose from, yet the flexibility of being able to handle special orders as well. Perks such as same-day delivery on orders before a certain time and free delivery on orders over a certain amount vary by dealer. Prices online may be denominated in dollars or rupiah, so make sure you are able to complete the transaction in the correct currency. Dealers may also stock related items such as chocolate and fruit baskets at discounted prices to accompany arrangements.
Make sure to verify the size and freshness of the flowers used by each dealer, and only deal with florists that have a verifiable return and exchange policy. Due to the nature and fragility of floral arrangements, if possible utilize an online service with human customer service or a physical location.
Flowers can also be ordered from abroad and sent to an Indonesian friend … which is a very special gift indeed!
Peak seasons for giving flowers in Indonesia are during Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Lebaran holidays. Flowers are often given as well for birthdays, Mother’s Day and the arrival of a baby.
Advantages of using Professional Florists:
- Professional arrangements for gift and special order
- Quality fresh flowers, consistently good quality
- Can be ordered by email/telephone
- Can be delivered
Nowadays, flower arrangements are a common personal gift, most often given to significant others as tokens of appreciation and love. These may be local varieties of exotic tropic blooms or imported flowers such as roses and tulips, which can be obtained through several different venues.
Traditional Indonesian open-air markets, or pasar, will commonly have flower sellers hawking local varieties for low prices. There are larger markets which specialize in flowers. These specialty markets will have greater quantities and varieties available than neighborhood pasar.
Flower displays in the markets are simple, often consisting of plastic buckets filled with water, but the freshness is remarkable as flowers are often brought in daily before 6 am from flower farms from Sukabumi, Bandung and Central Java and purchased at the night market and brought to roadside stalls and shops very early in the morning. Some flower shops will deliver by motorcycle to offices and homes for a charge, or free, depending on the size of the order. Of course, florists are also available to provide a more traditional retail experience where you can choose from the beautiful displays.
Imported varieties are usually acquired through floral shops and online florists. However, non-native flowers such as roses will not last long in the tropical heat, and will be much more expensive due to the associated import shipping and handling costs.
Though there is a cost savings at traditional flower markets, the quality cannot be consistently relied upon. You also have to maneuver through the infamous traffic to pick out your flowers, rather than ordering from the convenience of your home/office.
Flowers in Indonesian Culture
Flowers are integral to the cultural lives of Indonesians. Here are a few examples:
Bunga papan, or board flowers when literally translated, are a uniquely Indonesian floral arrangement that take the form of a message board bordered and accented by flowers. They are commonly produced for occasions such as weddings, funerals, company launches and company openings and can be quite large depending on the cost and size of the board. To receive or give a bunga papan is a sign of prestige in Indonesia, and they are often accompanied by photographs so that the identity of the sender is apparent. Bunga papan are often placed along the approach to the event so that all attendees can enjoy them.
Bunga tujuh rupa (seven kinds of flowers) is a special grouping of the floral petals from seven different kinds of flowers used in Southeast Asian religious and cultural ceremonies. Though there is little standardization between arrangements found in different geographical areas, the key attribute is that seven distinct varieties are used for a wide variety of cultural ceremonies.
Flowers are used in everyday Balinese life, typically during prayer rituals and as offerings. Live flowers are particularly prized, as dirty, withered or fallen flowers are unsuitable for ceremonial use. Offerings can be seen literally everywhere, on the sidewalk in front of a store, at the entrance of a shop or home, and of course in the house and community temples. Frangipangi flowers are also used in the headdresses worn by legong dancers, an elaborate and stylized traditional Balinese pantomime.
In traditional Sundanese weddings, the bride and groom are often showered with flowers by dancers, a gesture symbolic of a fragrant future for the couple. The mother of the bride traditionally gives the bridegroom a garland of flowers, which indicate his acceptability to the family.
Sedap malam (tuberose) and melati (jasmine) are two well-known varieties with connotations specific to Indonesia. The sedap malam is used for occasions requiring sweet-smelling fragrances, and it is commonly used in decorations for large events and weddings. The melati (jasmine) is one of Indonesia’s national flowers and it is the most important flower in traditional Indonesian weddings. Long strands of melati often adorn the ornate headdresses of wedding couples.
Flower petals are used for many occasions, a few examples are to line the path of the bride and groom at a wedding and to scatter over the body at a funeral and to throw over the grave site when the family is visiting the cemetery . The frangipani is also used in funeral ceremonies. Strongly-scented flowers such as the sedap malam are used to provide accents and covering scents to any event, which can be important when you consider the many aromatic spices used in Indonesian cooking served at the wake.
Flowers are often featured in many forms of Indonesian art, from batik designs to ornamentation in visual art and handicrafts.
Flowers may also be given as an auspicious gift to celebrate the Chinese New Year.