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Here’s What You Need To Know About Chinese Traditional Funeral

by | Sep 15, 2022 | Chinese Traditional Funeral | 0 comments

A Chinese traditional funeral is rich in melancholy grandeur and history. It’s a show of respect and honour for one’s history. Customs may differ depending on geography, religion, age, social class, and cause of death. Nonetheless, all traditional Chinese funerals incorporate specific aspects and adhere to protocol about visitation length, clothing code, and colours.

Chinese people think funeral rituals and practices must be rigorously observed, or the family will suffer bad luck.

What Is The Family’s Role During The Funeral?

Historically, Chinese families have costly funerals for their dear ones, as extravagant funerals help define social rank. The family is crucial in organising the funeral. They may seek the assistance of a monk, priest, or other spiritual members who adhere to the family’s religious traditions.

The Chinese traditional funeral mourning period, known as shǒusāng, lasts one year for the first-born son and up to three years for the second-born son, while modern Chinese families observe a 49-day time. Every week during that period, the household prays for their loved ones. 

What happens before the funeral?

When a dear one passes away, various arrangements must be made. One of the first steps a Chinese family may take is to consult with a feng shui master to choose the best day and time for their loved one’s funeral and burial. Suppose a gravesite has not previously been selected. In that case, they will seek the assistance of a feng shui master in selecting a cemetery site with position and direction in mind—often on a hilltop and not ever under a tree.

Chinese families typically honour their loved ones with three days of viewing before the funeral. The deceased will be dressed in his or her finest attire or a traditional white funeral garment. Also, family members who have lived to 80 or older are permitted to wear red or other vivid attire.

If the circumstances permit it, the family may decide to spend the night with their loved one, even making meals on-site. This is known as shuyè.

What happens on a funeral day?

The casket is shut after the visitation period. If family members are around, they will turn away because they think the spirits of those who watch a casket being closed will get trapped in the coffin. Similarly, as the casket is lowered into the grave, relatives and friends turn their backs on it.

The casket remains open during the funeral ceremony. This is considered courteous to the elders and the deceased loved one.

Following the funeral service

Following the funeral, a procession is made to the graveyard or crematory. The departed one’s oldest son or grandchild is expected to lead, holding a huge photograph of the loved one and the incense holder. Additional members of the family will follow the leader. Friends and other visitors follow the family. The traditional Chinese funeral service concludes when a loved one’s casket is dropped into the ground or brought to the crematory.


It is critical to select a funeral home provider who is aware of Chinese traditional funerals and can help you plan a meaningful memorial for your loved one. Professionals in your region can assist you in planning a funeral that honours your family traditions and the wishes of your loved one.

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