Chinses are one of the largest communities in the Singapore and they have some beliefs about the funeral. So, if you are not a chinses and visiting a funeral in a Chinese community you must read this article completely. Chinese history is filled with traditions, most of these are still surviving in these modernized days. A funeral is a traditional ceremony in which numerous rites and rituals are included. The funeral ceremony is the death ceremony of someone and every person on earth goes through these occasions. It is a ceremony in which friends and family members gather to remember the deceased person. The rituals and customs of the funeral ceremony are different according to countries, cultures, beliefs, and religions but the common point of a funeral is to assure that the soul of the dead person reaches the next world with ease and peace. There are cemeteries as evidence that the funeral ceremony is a tradition from always and is necessary to be done according to the rites. In many cultures, the rites that are being followed are ages old and are being followed by ancient times.
The job to arrange and prepare the funeral ceremony mostly fall on the young family members. There are local temples and funeral homes that also provide a helping hand in the preparation of the body. The invitations are sent to announce the date and time of funeral ceremony.
As we know that China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The community of China values its traditions and rituals as much as they value the advancement in technology and education. These rituals are valuable for both the religious and social life of China’s people.
In traditional Chinese society, funeral rites have an important place. According to Chinese people, the rules of the funeral ceremony should be followed strictly. They believe that if someone disobeys the rules of the funeral, he will invite bad luck to his house. The Chinese funerals are according to their social status and family background. There are some rules mention below to be followed while attending a funeral ceremony.
Color of Clothes to Wear on Funeral:
- If you are going to a funeral ceremony as a guest, then you should take care of your clothes. The clothes should be of dark color. You can also wear muted shades, but the color black is preferable above all because black color is considered as the color of sorrow and mourning.
- Try not to wear shiny or bright colors like red, yellow, pink, etc. as these colors symbolize the mood of a happy occasion or ceremony. Red is strictly prohibited as this color is specifically referred to as happiness.
- The white color is suitable, but it is necessary that the dress should be simple and free of any design.
- According to the Chinese believe the natural death of a person above 80 years of age is a call for celebration as they think that he lived his life to the fullest and fulfilled his all wishes. At that type of funeral white dress with a little shade of red or pink could be worn.
At the Time of Funeral:
- There are many rules that are essential to be followed at the time of funeral. The time precedes the actual funeral is known as “wake”. During the wake time, it is appreciated that all the family members and friends should bring flowers to show their love for the deceased and to show sympathy and care for their family. In China, White Iris is considered as the traditional funeral flower.
- Some people also give banners or couplets on which some good wishes or memories of the deceased person are written. This is to show your sorrow for that person.
- It is necessary to give money to family members of the deceased in white envelops as in Chinese culture white is considered as the morning color. You may write your name on the envelope or maybe not according to your will. The amount of the money is not fixed it is given according to the income of guests and deceased family members. The amount should not be less than 101 Chinese yuan. The maximum amount is not fixed but the amount in the envelope should be in odd numbers.
- To ensure the ease of soul a joss paper is burned by the deceased family members. It is believed that all things that are related to a deceased person go with him into the afterlife that’s why his miniature items are also burned.
After the Actual Funeral:
- When the actual funeral is finished all the guests are given an envelope of red color with a coin in it. The envelope is of red color as red is considered as the color of happiness and this gesture shows the hope of a new start. Sometimes the guests are also given a candy or a handkerchief. These three items should not be taken by the guest to his home as this may invite bad luck but if a red thread is presented by then it should be taken to the home as it protects from evils.
- At the end of the funeral ceremony, a special hired band or loud music is played at that place. The loud music is played as i is believed that loud music keeps the bad evils away. The children of the deceased person should wear a black dress and the grandchildren of the deceased are supposed to wear blue clothes. A band is also worn on an arm according to the gender of the deceased, the band is worn on the left arm if the deceased is a man and is worn on the right sleeve if the deceased is a woman. The mourning band is worn for a specific mourning time period that could be up to 100 days. The coffin should be surrounded by flowers.
- According to the family’s preferences, the body is either buried or cremated. There is an annual visit to a minimum.
The Chinese funeral rites and rituals are different according to different persons, social statuses of the family and the position of the deceased.