Dig for some bones at the graveyard

Hi all, some of you been here a while so maybe someone now what this is about

Time has come (the lucky day) to go to the grave of my Taiwanese father in-law, and according to my wife and her mother we have to do some ceremony, including digging up the grave and collect the “bones”. Then some of the bones will be taken to a temple, and if I understand it correctly they will be stored there.
It has gone 15 years since his death and now the process in the ground should be completed, if not we will find out, and the story about what to do then is really scary, according to me.

Anyone done this before and now what it is about?

It’s customary here to keep the bones (usually cremated remains) temporarily interred in one location before transferring them to somethere permanent. I believe it’s called “jian gu”, but I don’t know much about it and have never attended such a ceremony.

I did have the honor of attending a funeral where the bone fragments just after cremation were placed in an urn one by one by the family members. A very dignified ceremony and not scary in the least.

If the meat on the bones has not decomposed, then the bones must be cleaned, and the skull perhaps scooped out. Find out how much the casket cost. If it was expensive, think twice about going. It is not a pleasant thing to witness.

It is nothing like a cremation in the sense that Chris experienced.

I’d bring some 3M N95 masks to protect against airborne bacteria

been there, done that… it wasn’t that big a deal… I was expecting potentially macabre Indiana Jones style antics, but actually all it involved was hanging around at a discreet distance with the in-laws while the temple crew and priests did the digging and retrieving… lots of incense, lots of ceremony, the usual… not as grim as it sounds… this is Taiwan of course so YMMV… :wink:

Err, the usual?! Sorry but I think there are better ways to spend your weekend than digging up relatives. :astonished: But I must admit it could be better than KTV.

My girlfriend said it can be done after 7 years already. :bravo:
She also said 撿骨 (jian gu) literally means picking bones.

Some footage found on Google: 9-dragons.com.tw/my%20picture/pi … mage8.html

Take a look at this video podcast from National Geographic about 2nd burial. You’ll need to scroll down, the vid was posted on Sept 13.


Thanks for all the info, now I know what to expect next week.
After watching that video I get the feeling that it will be a lot of hard work for me, hope it’s not too deep…