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The Different Cultures of Funeral Rites in Singapore

Funerals are serious and significant affairs. In Singapore, the multicultural and multiracial landscape means that there are different traditions and customs in the funeral services being held. It is wise and important to be informed of the various etiquettes, taboos and funeral rites. Even if you are not part of that cultural or ethnic group, learning about the diversity in funeral services and how funerals are done in different cultures will lead you in becoming a more sensitive and informed person.

You would want to show the family of the deceased that you are respectful. You might also learn something new about your own culture’s approach to dealing with funeral preparations and funeral services. For instance, if you are a Chinese person, you should realise that there are different types of Chinese funeral services.

The different types of funeral services are as follow:

Buddhist funerals

Many Buddhists believe that the soul is put through the process of rebirth after an individual has passed on from this world. As a result, Buddhist funeral rites are conducted to facilitate the smooth ushering of the deceased into the next life. Some families might choose to strictly follow the traditions and customs of Buddhist funeral procedures. A Buddhist funeral might also incorporate influences and aspects from other religions and cultures into the funeral services and rites. At the end of the day, the funeral service is meant to generate positive karma for the deceased, ensuring that their next life will be blessedor escape Samsara and attain Nirvana.

Taoist funerals

Taoist funerals can vary from very elaborate to simplified, depending on the preferences of the family. Taoist funerals involves a lot of details and every ritual, every procedure has a specific meaning behind them.

In a Taoist funeral, rituals and procedures vary between different dialect groups, for example, Teochew, Hokkien, Hakka, Cantonese, Hainanese.

Even though the rituals and procedures may vary, they revolve around the principles of reminding the living the values of filial piety, helping the deceased repent the sins they had committed during their lives and be pardoned by the deities, and helping the deceased soul have a smooth journey into the next life.

Catholic funerals

An average Catholic funeral service in Singapore is filled with many traditional customs and rituals. The Catholics believe in the  existence of Hell, Heaven and Purgatory. When a person passes away, they will end up in one of those three places. At a Catholic funeral, there is a wake held for the family of the deceased. Relatives and close friends of the departed arrive to pay their respects. Words of condolences are offered to the family members during the vigil so that they may grieve properly.

Christian funerals

For a Christian funeral service, the deceased is memorialised and their life is commemorated. Typically, funeral services include prayer time and worship services as Christians believe that the departed has moved onto Heaven with God. A Condolence Book is present to allow for guests to write their condolences. This is then read by the family, helping them to mourn and heal.

Free Thinker funerals

Compared to religious funerals, free thinker funeral services are highly flexible and open to anything. How the funeral preparations go is entirely dependent on the deceased’s lifestyle, ethics, personality, etc.

At Embrace Funeral Services, we offer nothing but support and premier bereavement services to families in this time of need. We will ensure that every matter about the funeral services is attended to, so that you can grieve and heal properly.