Chinese Superstitions About Going to a Funeral

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In Chinese culture, attending a funeral is considered as an act of respect and a way to express condolences to the deceased and their family. However, there are a number of superstitions that are associated with attending a funeral in China. These superstitions are believed to be able to bring bad luck or even harm to the attendees. In this article, we will explore the top Chinese superstitions surrounding funerals and what one should do to avoid them.

The Meaning of Funerals in Chinese Culture

Funerals in Chinese culture are solemn occasions that are steeped in tradition and ritual. They are seen as a way to honor the deceased and to show respect for their family. According to Chinese tradition, the soul of the deceased must be guided to the afterlife, and this is why funerals are considered so important. Chinese people take great care to follow the proper customs and rituals when attending a funeral.

Avoiding Taboo Numbers and Colors

In Chinese culture, certain numbers and colors are considered unlucky and are associated with death and mourning. For example, the number 4 is considered extremely unlucky because it is pronounced similarly to the word for “death” in Chinese. Therefore, it is important to avoid giving gifts or offering condolences in multiples of 4. Similarly, the color white is associated with death and mourning, so it is best to avoid wearing all-white clothing to a funeral.

One key takeaway related to this text is that funerals in Chinese culture are deeply rooted in tradition and ritual. It is important to follow proper customs and behaviors, such as avoiding taboo numbers and colors, offering condolences and support to those who are grieving, and coping with grief in ways that are culturally significant. It is also interesting to note the superstitions and beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife in Chinese culture, such as the importance of burial or cremation within a certain timeframe, and the use of paper offerings to provide comfort to the deceased.

Lucky Numbers and Colors

On the other hand, there are also lucky numbers and colors that are associated with life and good fortune. The number 8, for example, is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the word for “prosperity” in Chinese. It is common for people to offer condolences in multiples of 8, such as 88 or 888. In terms of colors, red is considered lucky because it symbolizes happiness and good fortune. It is common to wear red to Chinese weddings and other celebrations, but it is not appropriate to wear red to a funeral.

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Taboo Gestures and Behaviors

In addition to avoiding taboo numbers and colors, there are also certain gestures and behaviors that are considered inappropriate at a Chinese funeral. For example, it is considered disrespectful to take photographs or videos of the deceased or the funeral procession. It is also important to avoid laughing or speaking loudly, as this can be seen as disrespectful to the deceased and their family.

One key takeaway from this text is that funerals in Chinese culture are steeped in tradition and considered an important way to honor the deceased and guide their soul to the afterlife. Chinese people take care to follow proper customs and rituals when attending a funeral, including avoiding taboo numbers and colors, inappropriate gestures and behaviors, and offering condolences and respect to the family members of the deceased. Coping with grief in Chinese culture can involve burning paper offerings to the deceased to help ease their journey in the afterlife.

Appropriate Gestures and Behaviors

Instead, it is appropriate to bow or kneel in front of the casket or urn as a sign of respect. It is also common to offer condolences to the family members of the deceased, either in person or by sending a sympathy card or gift. In Chinese culture, it is customary to offer money in a red envelope as a sign of respect and to help cover the costs of the funeral. This is known as “giving red envelopes.”

Superstitions About Death

In Chinese culture, there are many superstitions and beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife. For example, it is believed that the deceased must be buried or cremated within a certain timeframe or their soul will be unable to move on to the afterlife. It is also believed that the deceased must be buried facing the right direction, according to the principles of feng shui.

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Key takeaway: Attending a Chinese funeral requires understanding and following the proper customs and rituals, including avoiding taboo numbers and colors, inappropriate gestures and behaviors, and offering red envelopes as a sign of respect. Coping with grief in Chinese culture includes burning paper offerings to the deceased and offering support to those who are grieving.

Preparing for Death

To prepare for death, many Chinese people will make arrangements in advance for their funerals and burial or cremation. They may also consult with a feng shui master to ensure that their burial site is in an auspicious location. In some cases, people will even purchase their own burial plots well in advance of their death.

Coping with Grief

Finally, it is important to remember that attending a funeral can be a difficult and emotional experience, especially for those who were close to the deceased. It is important to offer support and comfort to those who are grieving, whether by offering condolences or simply being present to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on.

Coping with Grief in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, there are several ways to cope with grief. One common practice is to burn paper offerings, known as joss paper, to the deceased. These offerings can include items such as money, clothes, and even paper replicas of cars or houses. It is believed that the deceased will receive these offerings in the afterlife and that they will help to ease their journey.

FAQs for Chinese Superstitions about Going to Funeral

What are some superstitions to follow when attending a Chinese funeral?

In Chinese culture, attending a funeral is a solemn and sacred event that requires respect and adherence to various customs and traditions. Some common superstitions to follow when attending a Chinese funeral include dressing in appropriate attire, which is typically all black or white clothing, avoiding wearing red or bright colors, and refraining from wearing any jewelry or accessories. It is also customary to bring a gift of money as it is believed to help alleviate the cost of the funeral and bring good karma to the deceased.

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What should I avoid doing during a Chinese funeral?

There are certain actions that should be avoided during a Chinese funeral as they are believed to bring bad luck or offend the spirits of the deceased. It is crucial to avoid taking photos or videos during the funeral as it is considered disrespectful and inappropriate. In Chinese culture, it is also considered bad luck to cry excessively, as it is believed that excessive tears will wash the soul of the deceased away. Additionally, it is customary to avoid eating or drinking alcohol during the funeral, as it is believed to be offensive to the deceased.

What is the significance of burning paper money during a Chinese funeral?

The burning of paper money, also known as joss paper, is a common practice in Chinese funeral rituals. The burning of joss paper is believed to send money to the deceased in the afterlife so that they can use it to buy whatever they need. It is also believed that the burning of paper money helps the deceased to travel to the afterlife more easily, and that it ensures the deceased is adequately taken care of in the afterlife as they were in their earthly life.

What should I do after the funeral?

After the funeral, it is essential to clean oneself to rid oneself of the negative spirits that may have attached themselves during the funeral. It is recommended to wash one’s face, hands and wrists as they are believed to be the main entry points of the bad spirits. Burning incense and candles to ward off evil spirits is also a common practice in Chinese culture. Many Chinese also avoid going back to their homes immediately after a funeral, as it is believed that the negative spirits may follow them home. Instead, they make detours and do not enter their homes directly when they return.

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