Chinese Burial Practices - Essay Example

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Chinese Burial Practices

An older person, according to Chinese tradition, does not show respect to someone younger so if a young child dies, no burial rites are performed since there is no one that can pay their respects. A child is buried with silence. If a young unmarried man dies, his parents cannot bring his body home or offer prayers. However, burial practices for an elderly person must strictly adhere to certain traditions. These rites which befit the deceased’s age and social status must be carried out by the family whether or not they can afford it without going into debt (“Chinese Funeral Customs”, 2003).
After a person has died, their body is cleaned with a damp towel dusted with powder then dressed in simple, basic attire before being placed in the coffin. All of the other clothes of the deceased are burned. The body is not dressed in red as this is believed to transform the body into a ghost. The body is covered with a light blue cloth, the face with yellow (“Chinese Funeral Custom”, 2003). Adornments such as jewelry are not worn because “the deceased has already taken rebirth and would not be able to take anything along with him” (Suvanno, 1996). In the house of the deceased family, mirrors are temporarily removed because it is thought that if someone sees the coffin’s reflection in a mirror, this will lead to their own demise. Red paper covers any statues of gods in the house and a white cloth is placed over the front door of the house with a gong placed either to the left of the cloth if a man died or to the right for a woman (“Chinese Funeral Custom”, 2003).
During the wake, the coffin is positioned on a stand in the home if the deceased passed away at home or is placed outside if the person did not die at home. The coffin remains unsealed during the wake and is positioned with the head of the body toward the home on two stools about a foot tall. Visitors are obliged to light incense to show respect for the departed and to ...Show more


It is widely accepted that an improper funeral service will bring bad luck to the deceased’s family. Many traditions involving the wake, funeral ceremony, procession and the act of burial…
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