A Look at Traditional Chinese Funerals

Funeral services, burial services, and cremation services follow the cultural and religious customs of the deceased. In the Chinese culture, cremation is uncommon, and burial services are revered, sacred, and traditional. Continue reading to learn more about the customs of traditional Chinese funeral services.

Chinese Funeral Traditions San Mateo - Skylawn Memorial Park

The Wake

The wake lasts at least 24 hours; longer if the family has the resources. During the wake, the coffin is placed inside if the person died at home, or in the courtyard if the person died away from home. Mourners do not wear jewelry or red clothing, and family members gather around the coffin, positioned according to rank. Money is donated to the family by mourners to help pay for the funeral costs.

Funeral Service and Procession

There are two primary types of funeral services that are traditionally held. In the first, the funeral ceremony is at least 49 days long, with prayers said every 7 days. In the second, a prayer ceremony is held every 10 days. When the prayer ceremonies are over, the coffin is nailed shut and placed on the street in front of the house. The coffin is then either carried on foot or by hearse to the cemetery for the burial service.

Burial and Mourning

Chinese cemeteries are typically located on hillsides, as they believe that higher graves are holier. When the coffin is lowered into the burial plot, mourners turn their heads away. After the burial service, the mourners’ clothes are burned. The family of the deceased then enters a period of mourning that lasts for 100 days. Each family member wears a piece of black cloth on his sleeve to signify that he is in mourning.

If you’re looking for a funeral home in San Mateo to help you plan funeral services, burial services, or cremation services, come see us at Skylawn Memorial Park. We have been providing funeral-planning services to the community for more than 50 years. Our compassionate, sensitive staff has experience planning services for diverse religions and cultures. For more information, visit our website, or call us today at (650) 349-4411.

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