6 Surprising Ways Funerals in China Resemble Weddings in China | Speaking of China

13 Responses

  1. Nicki Chen
    Nicki Chen September 1, 2014 at 9:05 am | | Reply

    A fascinating post!
    My mother-in-law and my dad died only a few days apart. She died in Singapore; my dad died in the US. So my husband and I went to two separate funerals and left the kids with a friend. Although I wasn’t at my MIL’s funeral, I believe it was much shorter and simpler than what you describe. Do city-dwellers in China have simpler funerals than people in rural towns?

  2. Marta
    Marta September 2, 2014 at 1:52 am | | Reply

    Wow it does sound exhausting! Luckily I have never had to attend a funeral in China, but when I was in Vietnam (in Ho Chi Minh City) someone had just died in the house in front of our hostel and the coffin and the funerary music were there for several days!

  3. Ri
    Ri September 2, 2014 at 8:34 am | | Reply

    That sounds like quite the event. It’s interesting that it’s such a boisterous (the drums and cymbals threw me for a loop!) event and yet the dress code is so casual.
    I know the vigil of the body is an important aspect in Japan as well and goes on for 1-3 days (perhaps there are instances where it’s longer, I’m not sure).
    I’ve been lucky as I’ve not needed to attend any funerals in Japan so far, but I have participated in a memorial service. It was quite low key.
    Thank you for sharing your experience, it was quite enlightening. I hope your mother-in-law recovered quickly. It must have been quite a burden to have such physical exertion during a time of emotional upheaval.

  4. R Zhao
    R Zhao September 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm | | Reply

    Though sorry for your loss, I really appreciate you sharing this. It is one side of China I haven’t gotten to see. I guess, luckily, most of us don’t. My husband’s uncle passed away several years ago, but I was in the States at the time.

    It’s very interesting to hear about the different practices. I’m curious what funerals are like in the city compared to the countryside. I often see huge wreaths (like those pictured) outside. I recently saw someone ring them and set them outside a local supermarket. He than started yelling things through a microphone. Some sort of protest? He left once the police came. It was very odd.

    I have spotted funeral processions a few times. Often they are very noisy with the widow (I presume) crying very dramatically in front.

  5. Liang Chen
    Liang Chen September 3, 2014 at 3:28 am | | Reply

    “Hongbaixishi” reflects the Chinese’ attitude towards life and death, life and death are just like the two sides of a coin.

    The Chinese culture is a mixture of Konfucian, Daoist and Buddhism, you can always find it out in your daily life when you are in China.

  6. Lina
    Lina September 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm | | Reply

    The most surprising thing my husband told me was that after his inside grandma’s passed away people during the meal people were playing mahjong … O.O

  7. Sveta
    Sveta September 5, 2014 at 8:57 am | | Reply

    Only funeral I attended was that of my great-aunt, G-d rest her soul, but it was an interesting read about how Chinese funerals are like.

  8. Joejo
    Joejo November 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm | | Reply

    My brother wedding lunch receiption is in 1 month time but my paternal grandfather pass away at age 100. Should i attend his funeral whereby we are chinese? In traditional chinese, we are not suppose to do so. Any good advise asap?

    1. Liang Chen
      Liang Chen November 19, 2014 at 8:04 pm | | Reply

      I don’t know well about the traditional Chinese way, so I can only tell u that, if I were u, I will attend my brothers wedding lunch.

  9. Hilary
    Hilary December 10, 2014 at 6:23 am | | Reply

    How interesting! I have not attended a Japanese funeral but one feature about giving money is it must be old and used versus wedding money that must be new.

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