Chinese Funeral Customs and Ceremony ~ Taoist StylePosted on May 31 in Chinese Tradition, In Memory Ofby ShelynPrint
Taoism and Death
Taoists believe that death is not the end of life. When death occurs, it is treated as the continuation of life into another phase, the phase of the soul. That is why Taoists perform rituals for the dead. It is to guide the wandering soul to its new home. It is obligatory for the descendants to offer prayers and acts of penance for the dead. The living believe that the ancestor’s soul is always watching over them.
Taoist Priest Praying Altar
The ceremony is called Kai Guang Ming Lu or ‘prepare the path for the dead’.
This is one of the musical instruments (二胡) used during the praying session.
On the other hand, the altar in front of my grandpa’s coffin was placed with sacred lamps, two candles, tea, rice, and water.
Two tall candles symbolize the light of the sun, moon, and both eyes of the human body.
The tea, rice and water are put in cups in front of the altar. The tea symbolizes yin, water is the energy of the yang, and rice represents the union of the yin and the yang.
A bowl of incense was kept burning for 49 days and nights even after the funeral. But of course now it has been simplified that we only burned it for 5 days. The burning of the incense represents refinement and purification of the soul, also known as the inner energies.
A white paper inscribed with the name, the date of birth and the date of death of the deceased is wedged in between silver joss papers. All the food on the table is my grandpa’s favourite food which was served by his daughters-in-law every morning.
The sacred lamp symbolizes the light of wisdom, yet it could also be referred to as the Golden Pill or Elixir of Immortality.
Special clothing is worn:
1. Children and daughters-in-law wear Black with Sackcloth (signifying that they grieve the most)
2. Sons’ children wear Blue
3. Daughters’ children wear Light Blue
4. Sons-in-law wear White, since they are considered outsiders.
le you were praying? Damn paiseh :p
Anyway, I will receive a set of photos from professional photographers in about one week time. So do come back again.
But in the new generation, western style coffin is more commonly used so it will not create spooky atmosphere. (Ok, spooky atmosphere is purely Shelyn’s own opinion)
Something you might be interested to know…
Spooky huh? So better hold the ceremony in somewhere else instead of at own house.
My grandpa’s comb is broken into two — one part is placed in the coffin and the other is kept by the family. It is believed that this will help my grandpa go without worrying about my grandma believing that he no longer values the relationship. It is also for this reason that my grandma did not take part in any of the rites involved in sending my grandpa off.
Complete articles of Chinese funeral Customs and Ceremony: