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Seeking advice for attending a funeral

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  1. #21

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    Paper offering is a must. There is a fireplace next to the room where they place the corspe, and the relatives will take turns burning them since there's too much of it. Towards the end of the funeral, there will be a major offering of the paper building and paper money you saw, and the family will march down to the street and burn them.

    The funeral you've been to is a quiet one, I guess, if they've hired some Buddhist monks or nuns for the ceremony. I've been to some pretty noisy ones, when they hired some band of Taoist monks that looked like property agents to me and played music and sang and had the family walk around the paper bridge many times in the middle of the room, and it's so noisy I had to cover my daughter's ears. Some people couldn't stand the noise and walked out for a moment. Finally, one of the monks would sit on the altar playing the buddha and it was simply ludicrous!


  2. #22

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    Oh my goodness. I was wrong. Should be 3 bows to the picture, and 1 bow to family. Anyway, you did right to follow others.


  3. #23

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    Hi, reviving this old, helpful thread. A few more questions:

    - The time I've been given for the funeral is 2 and a half hours long. Do you go for the whole thing or just "drop by" to pay your respects during that time?
    - Do the guests tend to mingle and wait around? Or are people sitting more formally through a service? (I'm a little concerned about the "mingling" part, as there is someone I am nervous about having to encounter...)

    If I wear black, but with a purple shirt and black sweater, will that be all right?


  4. #24

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    Original Post Deleted
    thanks so much! This is helpful.

    Were the family standing near the alter and greeted people after they put the incense stick at the altar? So you take the incense, place it, bow, say your words of condolence to the family? And then you can leave?

    I will play it by ear and will be with some others.

  5. #25

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    Don't worry too much as no one is judging you.

    There are many different religions and hence different funeral proceedings.

    Typically you will show up and give a donation. You should put money in and also a $1 coin. Usually it's called a white pocket. At work if just a co-worker then Hk$100 is good. For a close friend at least $500. After going through a funeral myself, I would probably give more money. It sucks to have to worry about bills when a loved one dies.

    You can show up at any time. The closer the friend the longer you stay usually. Family will sometimes stay overnight.

    Some funerals you will help to make Gold bars out of papers then they will burn them to send Fortune to their loved ones. Then there is the paying of respects where you go up and Bow. Just wait and watch another family do it first then you follow in next.

    I would say it's very informal. People have the cultural touches as a way to greeve. And I would make sure that you express your condences and give a hug to whomever you're there to support.

    Unfortunately nothing more can be done.

    gigglinggal likes this.

  6. #26

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    @Elegiaque It all depends on your relationship to the deceased. If you are not family then no incense sticks. You just bow 3 times to the altar and once to the family. There is a host/mc who will guide you through it if you have to go in by yourself. Don't wear or carry anything red. There are normally 2 sessions on different days. First session is to just pay respects. Second session they will perform some rituals. Find out which one you are going to as you have to be prepared to stay for the whole session if the rituals.

    Elegiaque and shri like this.

  7. #27

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    Thanks for the helpful information. It's just a family member of a friend, so no close relationship at all, just paying respects. Think it will be the non-ritual one.


  8. #28

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    The last one I went to, we went in and did the 3 times bowing to the deceased Picture and 1 time to the family and then sat for a while and left, I wore black shirt and pants as Im a foreigner so its was acceptable.


  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elegiaque:

    If I wear black, but with a purple shirt and black sweater, will that be all right?
    while its not that rigid, the chinese mourning colors are:

    white, black, blue.
    just proper dressings are fine. even if you are not in the above colors, just avoid the bright red and yellow and green and brown. evey purple i wld probably avoid.

    also again depends on the age of the deceased... if they passed on at ripe age (80+) then it might not even be too rude to wear slight brighter...

  10. #30

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    Just dress sensibly - no bright colours, revealing clothes etc etc.

    You need to give white envelope money, probably around 300 - 500. More if you are close. But please make sure it is an odd number (like someone mentioned to put in a dollar) so its $301 or $501 etc.

    You will also get a envelope from the deceased's family with some money and a sweet. Spend the money and eat the sweet before going back home that day.

    Staying 30 min - 1 hour is fine for regular guests. Just do the customs, maybe some small talk and you can leave.


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