What Is A Traditional Chinese Funeral?

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Every different culture has different methods of dealing with the loss of a loved one. In the Chinese culture, they have traditional funerals that are common when a loved one has passed. While some of the details may vary based on the person and the family traditions, there are many common elements. Here is what you can expect from a traditional Chinese funeral.

Planning the Chinese Funeral

The Chinese funeral is planned by a local temple or funeral home, with arrangements being made by the deceased's closest relatives. Traditionally, it is the children or younger family members closely related to the deceased that will plan the funeral. In Chinese culture, they believe in filial piety, which means to be devoted to your parents. Most Chinese funerals take place in a church, and formal invitations are sent out. They are usually white, but pink invitations might be used if they were elderly. Invitations include the funeral information, including the location, date, time, and a short obituary.

The Dress Code

At a traditional Chinese funeral, guests are expected to wear somber colors. This includes different shades of black, gray and other muted colors. Bright and bold colors are associated with happiness and celebration in the Chinese culture, and should therefore be avoided. Depending on the traditions of the family, this may even be seen as a sign of disrespect for the person who passed and their family. The exception is if the person was elderly, where people are allowed to wear white and pink or red to celebrate their long life.

What is the service like?

A traditional Chinese funeral usually starts with the wake, which can last several days. This is often held at a temple, funeral home, or the family of the deceased. During the wake, family members can bring photographs, candles or flowers and set them around the person's body during a night vigil. They may also bring flowers to add to a wreath that is being made in the person's honor. It is also common for people to bring white envelopes that are filled with cash for the deceased's loved ones. The iris is a traditional flower to have at Chinese funerals.

During the funeral service, joss paper is burned by the family members to allow their loved one a safe journey to the netherworld. There may also be other items that are burned during the service, such as miniature items like televisions, cars or houses, which are used to commemorate their life. There are also eulogies given at the funeral and prayers if they were religious. There may also be a procession after the funeral.

If you wish to incorporate any of these traditions at your own funeral, or for a loved one, work with a company like Foster-Warne Funeral Home so that the day goes off without a hitch.