The most common forms of Chinese funeral Services in Singapore are Buddhist and Taoist funerals. But even then, these can further vary, depending on the deceased age, dialect group and even marital and social status. Confucius teachings on filial piety continue to play its part in influencing much of Chinese funeral traditions, with many Chinese considering it their duty, as children, to stage of a proper funeral for their deceased parents.
Typical Order of Chinese Funeral Services
In the final hours just before death, family members will take turns to watch over the dying, alerting everyone the moment his condition turns for the worst. All family members will then gathering around the death bed, accompanying the dying till his last breath as an act of support and filial piety.
Preparation of the Body
Thereafter on death, it is customary for the eldest son to ritually clean the deceased body before the undertakers arrive. Pomegranate flower scented water is usually in this ritual which is believed to aid the deceased in crossing over to heaven. While the more traditional Chinese families still practice this ritual, most families these days leave the cleansing ritual to the funeral services provider who will also dress up the body in the deceased favourite outfit.
Another common practice to place a grain of rice in the deceased mouth plus coins in left hand. The rice is to ensure the deceased is never hungry in the afterlife while the coin can be used to bribe corrupt officials in the neither world.
After cleansing and dressing, the coffining ritual takes place where a mirror (to show the way) and bag of rice (to ensure the deceased is never hungry) together with paper money, joss stick and some personal effects are placed in the coffin.
Chinese Funeral Wake
These days, Singapore Chinese Funeral typically last 3 to 5 days though from time to time, we will have families requesting for 7 day funeral. The wake is where relatives and friends come to pay their last respect and offer words of condolences to the bereaved.
Mahjong sessions are a common sight in Chinese funeral wakes as they help those keeping night long vigils awake.
Taoist priest or Buddhist monks, depending of the deceased religion, will be at hand on the last evening of the wake to lead the chanting.
Procession and Burial
After the wake, the coffin is placed in a hearse and a funeral procession will follow. Family and friends will follow the hearse for some distance before boarding the bus for the crematorium or burial site where the body is interred.