While researching Hollywood Cemetery for this project we came across an unusual symbolic offering that can be part of a funeral service. In 2001 Janeen Schneider started Dream Doves, a company that releases white rock doves at the closing of the interment service. Clients say this ceremonial act has a “healing or soothing affect” upon the mourners.
According to Schneider, for ages white doves have been a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit and have been a part of the funereal culture. The releases can be customized to a variety of religious beliefs.
While a number of services are offered, the most popular release is called Trinity. During this ceremony a single white “spirit” dove is released from a small white basket by a family member. This dove represents the eternal spirit of the dearly departed. This is followed by the release of three additional white doves symbolizing, for Christians, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the ceremony ends with a flock of 24 more doves symbolizing life.
The birds have been trained to return to their home in Dayton, Texas until their services are needed again.