Traditional Chinese Funeral Customs

By: Matthew Funeral Home
Monday, November 2, 2020

Chinese funeral rites are steeped in the deep traditions of filial piety that are a large part of the culture overall. The finer details of a funeral can change based on age, gender, marital status, social standing, and cause of death. Burial is often an important element of the funerary process, and cremation is rare. A poor burial can spell bad luck, and even disaster, for the next of kin.

Funeral Preparation Before Death

It is common for those who follow Chinese traditions to prepare for the funeral ahead of time. This may include pre-planning the funeral. A casket may be purchased while a loved one is in a critical condition. Funerals for elders are held in accordance with their age and social status, with the family making sure that their loved one receives a funeral fitting of their status

Customs for the Home

According to Chinese traditions, some changes are made to the home during mourning. The family of the deceased will usually cover statues of deities with red paper. Mirrors may be removed or taken down. It is said that a person that sees the casket through the mirror will have another death in the family shortly after. Doorways are adorned with white cloths. A gong is usually placed at the entrance to the home; on the left for men, and the right for women. 

Traditional Chinese Funerals 

In preparation for the funeral, an undertaker prepares the casket and body for the viewing. The body is dressed in the deceased’s best clothing, and the rest of their clothes are burned. Final clothing should never be red, as it could turn the deceased into a ghost. 

Funerals for Younger Generations

While funerals for elders are focused on status, Chinese funerals for one of a younger generation are solemn events. Filial piety customs establish that an elder should not have to show respect for a younger person. As such, funeral rites for unmarried offspring are mostly taken care of by the funeral home, with little input from the family. The parents do not take the body home, as they might do with an elder. They are also not allowed to offer prayers. Almost no funeral rites are held when a child or infant passes. The child is supposed to be buried in silence, as a eulogy or final goodbye would force an older person to pay respects. 

Matthew Funeral Home has over 50 years of experience in handling funerals for families of all cultures and creeds in the Staten Island community. We have the expertise to ensure that your family’s cultural and spiritual needs are met while providing the care and respect your loved one deserves.
For over 50 years, Matthew Funeral Home has been serving the Staten Island community. We can help with almost every aspect of your loved one’s memorial service. Our family is here to serve yours, every step of the way.

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