Taoist Funeral Rituals
Understanding Taoist Funeral
Taoist funeral represents an amalgamation of various sources and varies according to region, sect and traditional beliefs – usually lasting between two to seven days. There are usually two types of rituals: funeral rites and rites on behalf of local communities.
The Taoist Funeral Procession
The Taoist funeral begins with the priest chanting Taoist scriptures. During the funeral, mourners are expected to grieve as loud as possible and loudest when the coffin is nailed shut.
Mourners must also turn away from the coffin as it is taboo to watch it being sealed. Yellow and white paper is affixed onto the surface of the coffin and placed outside while more prayers are chanted. One the deceased is loaded into the hearse, a procession that is made up of family and friends are formed in order of status.
After the burial, it is a tradition that the family must have a feast for all the guests who attended the funeral. Afterward, guest is presented with a red packet filled with money, and everyone must burn the clothes they wore to the funeral. The funeral does not mark the end of the rituals as relatives would be expected to mourn for 49 days.
What to do as a Guest at a Taoist Funeral
Similar to the Buddhist Funeral, the guests are advised to dress in white or plain, sombre colour. Guests can pay last respects by standing in front of the altar and bowing with hands clasped together. Donations may be given to the deceased family – usually, there will be a collection record book. These donations may be used to bear funeral expenses or offered to charitable organizations, depending on the wishes of the deceased and family.