Types of chinese funerals
Chinese funeral is an important part of Chinese social life. The importance of funeral rituals observed during the funeral service rest on the basic belief held by the Chinese. The performing of funeral rituals in Chinese funeral is seen as an extension of Chinese social ethics of filial piety.
Most modern customs are actually simplified because people want to save time, and cost is also a factor for consideration in the event of a death of a family member. However, we must always remember what is the real reason behind having proper Chinese funeral customs.
The purpose of having a Chinese funeral is not just because of self, but rather an extension of the impact that the deceased has left, and the legacy he/she has passed on. The Chinese’s version of grief is separated into 4 steps and the impact is as such:
People use the funeral to express grief. By holding a ritual we are “free” to cry, laugh, dance or even other methods that is focused on accepting the fact that a loved one has moved on.
Repay or Gratitude
By going through the funeral process, family members get to pay respect with the deceased and also serve as gratitude that the rest of the family are still around.
Transfer of Responsibility
The whole funeral procession is designed and planned as means to show the surviving family members what are their personal position in the family moving forward. During the service, only certain family members can do certain actions so that they know moving forward, they will be responsible for making some family-related decisions.
The funeral is to honor the effort done by the deceased to the world. Everyone has contributed something in their lifetime, some may have bigger achievements, but we also celebrate the minor ones as well. Their legacy goes on.
While there are many variations in Chinese death rituals, Funeral Service Malaysia will focus on Buddhist Funeral and Taoist Funeral, primarily as most Malaysian Chinese practice either Buddhism or Taoism as their religion.
There are many variations in Chinese funeral rituals because Chinese in Malaysia came from different regions in China from different dialect groups that observe different ritual performances. Funeral rituals for Chinese funerals are also from many religious traditions including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and traditional indigenous beliefs. Though there are many variations and interpretations, Chinese funerals generally fall within the below funeral framework:
- Gathering of the family
- Observing the mourning rituals
- Performing funeral rituals
- Holding funeral wake
- Burial or cremation
- Final resting place
Chinese funeral are most of the time viewed as public demonstration of fillial piety. However unnecessary wastage should be avoided as it is more important to show love and respect when the loved one is still alive. The death of a loved one should be conducted in a dignified manner befitting the solemn occassion.