Since the beginning of consciousness, death has been a subject of fascination for all cultures. Many cultures have special burial customs to please the deceased’s spirit, even though we may never be able to prove whether the afterlife exists definitively.
Our multi-regional environment in Singapore has cultivated our ability to adapt to and respect the various races, religions, and cultural customs. The Taoist funeral service Singapore is one such occasion that is highly intricate and substantially varies from other cultures. The Taoist ceremonies and practices involved are thought to appease the evil spirits to safeguard the departed person’s spirit. As a result, the Taoist funeral ritual differs from other customs and rites. Death is viewed in Taoism as a natural aspect of everlasting existence. Taoist funeral rituals are meticulously detailed. Each step in this ceremony also has a distinct meaning.
Taoist Coffin and Altar
The Taoist funeral coffin is triangular like the other coffins; however, it varies from the others because it has three bumps on top. Beautiful lotus engravings and floral motifs can be seen on the Taoist casket. Either 4 or 8 sides are available. The casket must be lined with papers once the body has been placed inside. No one else can see the coffin after the oldest son closes it. The body will be respectfully placed in a Singapore casket using ancient Taoist ceremonies. The funeral director or the officiating clergyman will frequently take the lead.
The family prepared an altar for the sacred Taoist funeral ritual, which included two big candles representing the sun and moon and a holy lamp representing the light of wisdom. Additionally, there is a cup of tea to represent yin, a bowl of rice to represent yang, and water to define the marriage of yin and yang. Last but not least, there are five fruits in the holy arrangement that stand in for earth, wood, fire, metal, and water elements.
The Garb of the Taoist Deceased
Chinese Taoists in Singapore also believe in dressing the deceased in their finest attire. Generally, a dark shade of brown, light black, or white is recommended. During the funeral service, mourners frequently sob aloud while wearing sackcloth or white cotton shirts. Red is strictly prohibited because some think it might inspire a deceased person’s soul to come back as a ghost.
Taoism and Buddhism are closely related; hence in Singapore, a Taoist burial mimics a Buddhist funeral in several ways. The primary distinction is that a priest frequently conducts the Taoist ritual while a monk does so during a Buddhist wake. But funeral etiquette and dress are comparable in practice and adhere to the same traditions.
Mourners play a significant role in the ceremony in Singapore. They typically wear flowy gowns or white blouses and wail loudly during the Taoist funeral procession. The group’s weeping peaks when the deceased’s coffin is closed.
The mourners’ weeping is an expression of their affection for the dearly departed.
It is acceptable for families to engage actors in the funeral procession because it prevents embarrassment for the family. Their lack of clothing serves as a symbol of their respect for the deceased’s soul. With the priest, they even take part in additional rituals. In addition to employing actors, Taoists might order services to help families prepare for such occasions and organize funerals.
Taoist Funeral Service
There are no mirrors in the funeral room since it is thought that everyone who stares into them will die. Mourners use headbands or hoods to conceal their heads. The priest recites Taoist texts while being backed by percussion and wind instruments. One priest sits on a lotus seat next to the picture of the dead and prays for the forgiveness of the sins of all departed souls (spirits) as another priest lights a fire around the nine-tile area to ward off evil spirits.
At a Taoist funeral, the location is surrounded by flowers and pictures of the departed. While other musicians play woodwind instruments, drums, and symbols, the chief priest repeats passages from the Bible. The priest then starts a fire circle to drive away evil spirits. Another priest chanted prayers on a cushion in the shape of a lotus flower, representing the Chinese goddess of mercy.
Another important aspect of the Taoist funeral ritual is the burning of paper cut into the shapes of dwellings, clothes, and servants. The ritual also involves burning paper automobiles, servants, and costumes. The deceased’s clothing is designed to reflect the living world, while paper buildings and servants aid the soul as it travels through the underworld. As a token of appreciation, money, and treats are given to everyone who helped out.
The cortege, also known as a funeral procession, will assemble behind the hearse as it travels in the direction of the memorial service once the funeral service is over and the body is prepared to be carried for burial or cremation.
The mourners are expected to queue up according to their social rank in this procession. The deceased’s family will stand just behind the hearse and the oldest son. During the parade, they are required to touch their heads to the car in accordance with tradition. The hearse is usually connected to each member of the deceased’s vast family with a piece of white fabric.
In Singapore, the deceased’s clothing from the funeral service is burned as soon as the body is interred. Everyone else is expected to follow suit with their funeral attire as well. In order to show appreciation to the mourners, a feast is arranged, and a seat is left vacant to invite the deceased’s spirit to join them. Weekly prayers are offered for the next 49 days of grief. During this time, no heir to the dead may cut their hair.
If the person is cremated rather than buried, the cremated remains, including the bones and ashes, are typically kept in a funeral urn. An urn is a vase-like receptacle that keeps a cremated body’s bone fragments safe. Urns that have been filled are frequently kept in columbaria in Singapore.
We hope the fascinating information we provided on Taoist funeral procedures has helped you gain a deeper understanding of the distinctive customs of this faith. You are better prepared to attend a Taoist funeral now that you have a better grasp of the funeral rites observed by Taoists.
This article will teach you something new about Taoist funerals, which strongly emphasize driving away evil spirits to help the departed find peace in the hereafter.
Contrary to popular belief, the Buddhist funeral package Singapore can be organized without hassle into the customary elaborate and formal ceremony.
To make the necessary preparations, we shall work in tandem with. You may be confident that your loved one will be given a respectable send-off for cremation and burial in accordance with Taoist traditions.
We can set up a Taoist funeral service for you, whether it is more contemporary or traditional, without additional fees.
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