Chinese Funeral Customs and Traditions

Chinese Funeral Customs and Traditions

The vast tract of land has deeply influenced the funeral tradition of China over several decades. You can find different customs practiced in one part of China, which is completely different in the other parts. But, the funeral wake in Chinese culture is more or less similar across the region. 

The connection between death and spiritual awakening is deeply rooted in Chinese cultures. They are strong believers in the funeral wake because that satisfies the need for the soul after death. The practice of burial is common and it depends on various aspects like social status, age, and other factors. 

In Chinese culture, burials are the most important element that needs to get done in a proper manner. They believe that poorly done burials are the root cause of all problems and are regarded as bad luck. Therefore, professional funeral services providers have to remember this special fact. 

The preparation of a funeral in advance is a special highlight of Chinese culture. They purchase caskets and other essential items of ritual when they see their family member on their deathbed. They follow a deeply-rooted spiritual activity to pass the soul without causing pain to the body. 

In recent times, there are many funeral homes offering direct funeral services, especially for Chinese people. They follow all the customs and rituals that are very essential in Chinese culture. They keep special attention to the spiritual practice of the funeral along with other rituals. 

The following are some of the Chinese funeral customs and traditions that are discussed:

1. Importance of Feng-Shui 

The concept of Feng Shui spreads across the globe with the help of Chinese culture. This practice is used to place things in the right direction and some special elements are arranged to welcome good luck. This practice is an integral aspect of funeral wake in Chinese culture and is followed at funerals. 

  • First, the location of the grave is chosen with the use of the feng shui method. The shape of the grave is also defined in this practice, which is mainly mound-shaped. 
  • Second, some special things like idols or writing are getting used in the funeral to stay out from the evil spirit. The location of the grave defines the fate of the immediate family members of the dead person. 
  • They show special attention to the death of a royal family member because the position of their grave decides the fate of the nation. 
  • Most importantly, these rituals and customers are arranged by the younger people of the family, not the elder ones. 

2. Practice during the ceremony 

One person should sit near the dead body until the funeral process gets done. The younger members of the dead person sit rotationally with the dead body. This is a symbol of showing the company to the soul of the dead person and preparing it for the afterlife. 

  • The wake is arranged in a nearby temple, which would last for 7 days initially. During this time, the family members will visit the temple regularly, and friends can also come with flowers to show their grief. But, the flower should be white for this purpose. 
  • Due to regional variance, some parts of the Chinese community pray to their deity while others recite Taoist texts for a few days. 

3. Importance of Joss paper 

Joss paper is basically a paper made of rice pulp, which is getting burnt during the funeral ceremony, especially in funeral wake. This paper is considered as money that is offered to the soul of the dead person. This offering resembles a smooth process of the soul interacting with the afterlife. 


Finally, all the people gather in the wake wearing white clothes. The elders of the dead person do not participate in the wake, only the younger of the dead person continues the process. 

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