What happens when a Chinese person passes away in Singapore? Truth be told, there are many things that go on behind the scenes for an average Chinese funeral in Singapore. Some common types of Chinese funeral services are Buddhist and Taoist funerals. However, even between the two, each funeral procession and ceremony can differ, depending on the deceased person. Factors ranging from age and dialect group to the socioeconomic and marital status can influence the decision-making and ritual practices that go into preparing for a Chinese funeral.
Perhaps your Chinese relative has passed away, or maybe you are attending the funeral of a Chinese friend. Nevertheless, in this article, you will find out about the facts and insights many people in Singapore might not be aware of. Even if you are Chinese, who knows what else you might learn about the different forms of Chinese funeral services that are widely practiced in various Chinese communities?
Dress code – If you are attending as a guest to a Chinese funeral, being in muted and dark colours would be the most appropriate. It should go without saying that one should dress in a dignified manner, and not sloppily, so as to show respect to the deceased and the family of the deceased. You should definitely avoid wearing red. Likewise, clothing that is bright and colourful should not be worn to a Chinese funeral as they have connotations of moods that contradict mourning.
Coffining – The deceased is dressed in their finest clothes. Clothing is also placed in the coffin, representing the clothes that the deceased is able to wear when they pass on into the afterlife. Did you also know that pearls are placed together with the body? Three pearls are commonly placed, with one on the lips and two on the shoes. The pearls symbolise the deceased’s smooth journey to the afterlife, as their light will shine brightly in the other world. They are also placed to bless the descendants and ward off evil spirits.
Condolences Money – Have you ever seen people gifting money to the family of the deceased? Also known as bojing (帛金) or peh kim in dialect, these are monetary contributions made by visitors to help the family on the covering of the funeral expenses. In the event that someone is helping the visitors to collect the condolences money, the money will be consolidated into a white envelope, to be passed to the grieving family.
Funeral procession – To the uninitiated, the concept of a funeral procession sounds straightforward. However, the procession involves many details that you might not be aware of. Did you know that there is a lion or crane figure placed on top of the traditional hearse? It indicates the gender of the deceased. Depending on the dialect group and the religious denomination, different practices will be conducted.
Many details go into planning for a typical Chinese funeral. At Embrace Funeral Services, many families have hired us as funeral directors. We ensure that every detail is checked off, so that the deceased can have a respectful passing on.