Examining the Traditional Parts of a Chinese Funeral

Funeral Home San Mateo

Funeral rites are an important part of traditional Chinese culture funeral services. There are a number of prescribed rituals, depending on the age, family, and social status of the deceased. Preparations for the funeral will often take part before the death. Family members may order a coffin and arrange a funeral ceremony in San Mateo during the loved one’s final illness. There are several main stages to the funeral ceremony.

The Wake
During the wake, mourners gather around the body of the deceased, which has been previously placed in an unsealed coffin. Photographs of the dead are placed at the foot of the coffin. Guests burn incense to honor the deceased. Paper money and food are provided, as symbolic sustenance and financial resources for the deceased on his or her journey into the afterlife. Monks may chant Buddhist or Taoist verses. The ceremony may be accompanied by music played on the flute, gong, and trumpet.

The Funeral Procession
The coffin will be transported to the burial plot in a slow-moving hearse. White paper is often pasted onto the coffin itself and attached to the windscreens of accompanying vehicles. Family members follow the hearse in a set order, according to their position within the family. A long joss stick is kept alight throughout the funeral service.

The Burial
It is considered a good omen to be buried on a hillside or slope. Each family member will throw a handful of earth onto the coffin before it is buried. The family of the deceased will usually distribute red envelopes of money to the mourners, in honor of the dead. Any garments worn at the ceremony must be burnt afterwards. The eldest son of the deceased will salvage a handful of earth from the burial site. This will be placed in an urn and kept at home, in order to commemorate the dead.

At Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park, we believe in helping you create the perfect ceremony for your deceased loved one. Whether you wish to arrange a traditional burial, cremation, or a more modern service, we will be happy to offer advice and assistance. Call us at (650) 349-4411 and let us help you honor your deceased loved one.

Choosing Flowers for a Chinese Funeral

Chinese Funeral San Mateo

Traditional Chinese customs place a great emphasis on color as symbolism. As such, color can convey feelings and hopes—which can be appropriate or inappropriate for traditional Chinese funeral services. If you are attending or planning a traditional Chinese funeral services in San Mateo or elsewhere, read this article for suggestions on how to choose flowers.

Artificial Flowers
Real flowers are nice, but not necessary. High-quality, life-like artificial flowers last a long time and retain their vibrancy without water. This is a good option if you plan to be traveling long distances with flowers to a funeral.

Lily
The lily is an excellent choice for a traditional Chinese funeral. White and yellow are excellent colors for a Chinese funeral, and lilies are mostly white. The lily offers a spiritual and emotional touch because it represents restoration of innocence after death.

Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums are found throughout Asian culture. White or yellow chrysanthemums, which are native to Asia, are an ideal choice of flower for a Chinese funeral. In fact, traditional Chinese values hold that white and yellow flowers serve important symbolic needs for the funeral.

Cool Colors
Avoid red and other warm-colored flowers, which represent happiness. While warm-colored flowers may be found in another type of funeral, giving them in a Chinese funeral may give the wrong idea of the giver’s feelings and intentions. Avoid embarrassment by making sure that pre-ordered flowers do not include warm-colored flowers.

Neutral Colors
Dark-colored flowers may fit in with the sad, mournful mood of a funeral, but do not choose them for a traditional Chinese funeral. This is because dark flowers may make the family feel worse. Opt instead for neutral-colored flowers.

Avoid the Wrong Roses
Although roses are found throughout Chinese history and commonly found in many ceremonies, not all roses are appropriate for a Chinese funeral. White roses are appropriate but avoid red and pink roses.

For assistance with funeral planning in San Mateo, call Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park at (650) 349-4411. For more information about cremation, funeral planning, and the other services we offer, visit our website.

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.