There are many different religions and cultures around the world and every religion and culture has its own funeral traditions which they strictly follow and any discrepancy in following is not appreciated.
Chinese Taoists also have their own funeral traditions which they strictly follow. So, if you have to attend a Taoist funeral Singapore or you just want to increase your knowledge about Taoist funeral traditions, here is a complete one that will help you understand Taoist funeral culture and traditions.
The children of the dead or the younger family members (like younger brother and sister) are responsible for arranging the funeral of the deceased. It is a Taoist funeral tradition and shows your devotion toward their deceased parents.
In the 60’s, an invitation to the funeral is sent out in white envelopes. However, if the dead has lived for more than 80 years the invitations are sent in pink envelopes as it is considered a feast to live that long, and mourners should celebrate it. The invitation included the date, time, and venue of the funeral and a small obituary as well.
Preparing the Dead
The body used to be prepared by close family members of the deceased, however funeral director had since taken over the dressing part. It is advisable to be dressed in the best white, black, blue, or brown clothing. The colour of the dress should never be red as it may cause the deceased to become a ghost, according to Taoist belief. Family members or deceased’s last wish must be fulfilled for embalming or only shower and makeup.
All the mirrors and reflecting things are removed or covered as it is believed a reflection of the dead will cause another death.
The Dress Code of Taoist Funeral
The funeral attendees are expected to wear black or dark colours and modest clothing. Coloured clothes are not appreciated at Taoist funerals and red colour is absolutely unacceptable. However, if the dead were above 80 years old, you can wear white with pink or red as it is more of a celebration.
What Happens At the Funeral
At the funeral, the priest will read chants and scriptures and instruments will be played in loud volumes to protect the deceased from evils. In Cantonese Taoist Funeral, The priest will also break nine tiles to protect the dead from evils and underworlds. The family of the deceased and funeral attendee’s burn joss paper called “ghost money” to free the dead from the underworlds. They also burn joss paper shaped into miniature items like houses, cars, and televisions.
In the end, the family will distribute a red envelope to all attendees to make sure their safe return to their homes. The envelope usually contains a coin and a candy which must be consumed before going home. A red thread can also be added to the envelope that the attendees can take home. They must tie this red thread to their entrance door knob to protect them from all evils.
The mourners proceed to the cemetery or crematorium. The procession is led by a hired band that plays loud music to scare away spirits and ghosts. The family wears funeral clothes and follows the marching band. The children of the dead wear black or white clothes and walk in the front. The daughters-in-law also wear black or white clothes and walk in the second row. The grandchildren wear blue clothes and walk in the third row.
Protection from Evil Spirits
All the attendees of the funeral carry a yellow paper with them. Their name, address, and date of birth are written on this paper and when they get back home, they must burn this paper on their doorway and cross over it while it is still burning. This ensures that the funeral attendees are protected from evil spirits and bad luck.
Also, during the funeral, whenever the casket is opened or the body is moved, the attendees must turn away or leave the room to protect themselves from evil spirits. People with incompatible astrological signs with the dead must take special care.
How Long Is The Mourning Period?
Typically, a Taoist mourning period would last 49 days after the funeral. However, it may last 100 days as well. During the mourning period, the mourners wear a coloured mourning patch on their arms to depict they are mourning. The mourning patch colour is determined thru the family ranking. If the dead is a male, the mourning patch is worn on the left hand and if the dead is a woman, the mourning patch is worn on the right hand. The mourners also do not wear bright and colourful clothes during the mourning period.
We hope our guide will help you understand the Taoist funeral traditions. At Singapore Bereavement Planner, we help you plan and arrange a funeral for your loved ones. Feel free to contact us for more information about the Taoist funeral package Singapore.