Death is the biggest taboo topic among Chinese people. This article is part of a series on how Chinese people deal with death. When Wang received Qiao’s message, she paid a visit to the young woman and her mother that same day. If one of the parents passes away, the bride or groom has to be in mourning, the wedding will either . Just fill in your email and we This can be directly handed over to one of the family members (or put into a donation box, if there is one), either on the day of the funeral or one day before. ► Whether the deceased is cremated or buried, depends on the personal preference of the deceased himself/herself and/or his/her family. Sometimes called ghost money or spirit money, it is believed that the souls will need money in the realm of Diyu, where they are judged by Yan Wang, Lord of the Earthly Court, before being taken to heaven or hell. Funeral rites differ from country to country and from culture to culture, but all of them are unanimously aimed at ensuring that the soul of the deceased enters the afterlife without any hurdle. Her one regret is not learning about how to deal with death sooner. Fan Yiying/Sixth Tone. will help you reset your password. Wang suggested that Qiao make use of every second to talk to her mother while she was conscious, and also told Qiao not to place her mother’s hands on her stomach, saying it made breathing more difficult. The first few years were tough for Hand in Hand. This ceremony includes the Buddhist ceremony and 3 succeeding periods of ten days until the burial or cremation. Chinese burial practices depend on the age, social status and marital status of the person who has died. Their volunteers now offer counseling at six Shanghai hospitals, visiting wards at set times to talk to anyone in need of a conversation. ► The other mourners are allowed to wear any shades, except the bright and bold ones, and it is also customary for them to wear a cloth band on their arms that signifies that they are mourning the death of their loved one. It is worth noting that in Chinese culture, the funeral customs and rites vary from person to person, depending on the social status of the deceased and/or also his/her position in the family. Being such a large and diverse country, Chinese funeral rituals are influenced by many different religious and regional differences. Given the mystery surrounding death, it's no surprise that people have come up with countless superstitions related to death and dying. But she kept in touch with Wang, and eventually, grief gave way to motivation. ► Though it is not customary, people generally also put banners with couplets about the deceased written on them, within the wreaths. Traditionally, the Chinese people are known to host lavish funeral ceremonies for their deceased near and dear ones because elaborateness of the funeral ceremony determines the status of the family in the society. “I felt like nothing was meaningful,” she says. So, while you prepare yourself to attend a traditional Chinese funeral ceremony, ensure that you have considered all these things so that you can follow the appropriate etiquette once you get there. The wake usually takes place in the family home or at the local temple over a period of up to seven days. ► Avoid wearing bright and colorful clothing, as such hues may symbolize moods, contrary to the one of mourning. Don’t worry! Burial is traditionally favoured in Chinese funerals, but with a rapidly expanding population, cremation is becoming more common. Organizations prepare terminally ill patients and their families for the inevitable. Today, elaborate Joss paper offerings are still made and sold - often made to look like the latest gadgets and trends: smartphones, designer clothes and shoes, bicycles, cameras and even kitchen appliances. ► For this, a special band is hired and loud music is played until the place is reached. With elaborate funeral rites and memorial rituals, China has always put a lot of time and money into honouring the souls of those who have died. Wang remembers how upsetting it was not knowing what to do. Wang has noticed that patients and their families and friends are often completely unprepared. The children and the sons/daughters-in-law of the deceased wear black and white colors, while the grandchildren wear a blue-colored attire. Many patients find it easier to speak to strangers. In fact, the deceased is also dressed up in a white robe. Now, people like Qiao actively seek out Hand in Hand for their services, and every quarter sees more volunteers applying to join the organization. Such a gesture shows that you are equally sad about the person’s death as his/her family. countdown has finished before clicking the resend button. ► Once all this is done and the guests are about to leave, the family of the deceased distributes red envelopes among them. Chinese doctors often break the bad news to family members rather than to the patients themselves, and Qiao had no idea how to inform her mother. If a child or infant dies, they are buried in silence without a ceremony. Do not wear red; in China, it is associated with happiness. Photo by Jorge Láscar. While the family is in the mourning period, they normally will refrain themselves from the happy occasions like friends’ weddings, baby shower, etc. ► It should be noted that the three items mentioned above viz., the envelope with a coin, the handkerchief, and the candy, should not be carried home by the guests. It’s a message that wouldn’t be lost on Qiao, who was devastated about her mother’s passing for over a year. ► Apart from joss paper, other miniature items such as houses, cars, televisions, utensils, etc., are also burned. “Fear comes from the unknown,” she says, adding that the taboo gets passed down from generation to generation. Parents refrain from broaching the subject with their children to protect them; people pay extra for cellphone numbers without the digit 4, which sounds like the Mandarin word for death; and few people register as organ donors or write their own wills for fear of cursing themselves. There is also a litany of superstitions — such as that the deceased’s souls can influence the world of the living — that make death a topic best left untouched. “I felt that if I could do something to help families like ours, it would be meaningful,” says the Shanghai native. Consultations, Education & Counseling Available, Hospices Work to Reach Underserved LGBTQ+ Communities, Day of the Dead: How Ancient Traditions Grew Into a Global Holiday. While you can wear pale and muted shades, black is the safest color to opt for. Chinese also have a special prayer ceremony held every 10 days. #Tradition & Culture. Fan Yiying/Sixth Tone. She got in touch with Wang Ying, who runs Hand in Hand, a Shanghai-based nonprofit that specializes in providing psychological counseling to cancer patients and their relatives. #Bereavement They also depend on the age, marital status, and the manner in which the person died. People of today’s China value their age-old customs and traditions as much as they value advancements in technology and modernization. Qiao had finally found the help she needed, but it was too late. They are followed by other family members and guests. “My mother died the next day,” she says, in tears. Courtesy of Modern Art Museum Shanghai. If you are vague, the host may think you are not interested in having a … However, the etiquette that needs to be followed during these ceremonies is worth noting. The Chinese undertake these rituals partly out of filial piety, and partly out of the belief that there is a continued relationship between the living and dead. Sometimes, the guests may also be presented with a handkerchief. Made from bamboo or rice paper, Joss paper is often made to look like money and is burnt in order to ‘give’ money to the souls of those who have died. SHANGHAI — Four years ago, when Qiao Qiao was told that her mother had been diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer, she was overwhelmed. Chinese burial practice dictates that the location of Chinese graves (which are usually mound-shaped) be chosen according to the complicated laws of feng shui. ► More often than not, professional mourners are also hired; however, this is not mandatory, and depends largely on the financial status of the grieving family. Wang became a counselor after her own mother battled — and survived — cancer more than a decade ago. Wang Ying hosts a ‘death café’ event at Modern Art Museum in Shanghai, Dec. 23, 2017. If you must decline, it is important to give a specific reason as to why you can’t attend. ► On the day of the funeral, all the guests are expected to give money in white envelopes (white is the color of mourning in Chinese culture) to the family members of the deceased. Death Around the World: Chinese Funeral Customs and Traditions, Comprehensive listings to compare funeral directors near you, 10 pieces of classical music for funerals. Shi Yangkun/Sixth Tone). Feeling desperate and hopeless about dealing with her mother’s illness all by herself, Qiao — an only child raised by a single mother — began looking for help online in late 2016. ► The minimum expected amount is 101 yuan (about $16), but there is no upper limit for the same. Traditionally, the period called “wake” precedes the actual funeral. The Pluses and Pitfalls of China’s Tech-Enabled Governance Push, Chinese City Sponsors $30,000 Esports Tournament for Residents, How Folk Tales Are Helping Save China’s Endangered Gibbons, China Tightens Entry Requirements by Adding Second COVID-19 Test. Please click below to complete your registration. Mourners leave offerings of food, incense and Joss paper. The same applies to death rituals and chinese funerals are usually arranged by the children of the person who has died or younger members of the family. ► The coffin, in which the corpse is laid, is kept in a hearse decorated with funerary wreaths and flowers.
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