Chinese Funeral Customs in America

chinese funeral customs

When you’re planning a funeral service that is rooted in deep cultural traditions, it’s very important to find a funeral home that can accommodate your unique needs. Buddhist funerals and Chinese funerals follow specific procedures and customs depending upon the age of the deceased. Here is a look at some of the most common Chinese and Buddhist funeral customs in America.

How Friends and Family Prepare
Arranging a Chinese funeral is a task that typically falls to the children or younger family members of the deceased. When planning a funeral, family members will consult the Chinese Almanac to choose a date for the funeral service and burial service. They will send out white invitations to the Chinese funeral service and burial service if the deceased was under 80 years old, and pink invitations if the deceased was over 80 years old.

What Guests Should Wear
Much like other funeral services, guests at a Chinese funeral or Buddhist funeral should wear somber colors, like black, gray, or blue. Colorful or bright clothing should be avoided, though white is acceptable, and pink and red may be worn if the deceased was over 80 years old. You should also dress respectfully when attending a burial service or memorial service at a funeral home, residence, or Byodo-In Temple.

What Happens During and After the Funeral Service
A wake often precedes the Chinese funeral service, and can be held at a family’s home, a Byodo-In Temple, or a funeral home. It may last several days, and family members may keep an overnight vigil. During the funeral ceremony, the family may burn joss paper, fake money, and miniature symbolic items. After the funeral service, a burial service is held at a Chinese cemetery, or cremation services occur at a crematorium.

If you’re looking for a funeral home that can accommodate a Chinese funeral near Oahu, HI, come see us at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. We have experience planning funerals, cremations, and burial services for members of our community of all faiths, religions, and cultures. To learn more about our funeral services, call us today at (808) 239-8811.