Taiwanese Funeral

Why the hell would a foreigner be present at a funeral where he/she had little to no relationship with the deceased?

Is this one of those “if you are a foreigner, remember not to stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice/up your nose” kinda post?


I believe only the first born child of the eldest child of the deceased and the children/spouses of the deceased does this. Along with the deceased siblings. Not everyone does this.

And we might add, according to recent posts, that funerals in Taiwan, because of Chinese tradition, are indeed a serious business: unlike in the west where they are a doddle.

For Chinese people, family is important: unlike other cultures.

Chinese people love food: unlike other countries, where people suffer obesity in epidemic proportions from gulping air.


No, you are quite right, this is only for close family. But then again the OP did say,

Funerals here can be over a period of weeks, mostly they are fairly normal, a tent is set up and people are expected to do some praying with joss sticks or bowing, no one has a clue what they are supposed to do or when, which is why they bring in someone to run the show.

If the funeral is for some big shot, all bets are off, and you might have dragon dances and professional wailers and processions through the streets which might include bikini clad strippers on the back of little blue trucks, I kid you not. If the family is really deep into the Taoist stuff they might even do some cleansing ceremony (you can only hope they don’t because that is some weird stuff right there) but a water bowl for washing your hands would be normal.

We do the same in the Buddist temple I have had my pets cremated.

At funerals, there are directors and asistnats telling you waht to do. Only thing I know is that one should not wear black.

From what I understand it will be a combination of the two. But my understanding is pretty limited since I have very little information as yet.

Really? I thought white and/or black were standard.

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I believe in Chinese funerals the traditional color to wear is white. This is also why you never light white candles outside of funerals.

Ce soir, #vernissage de l'exposition #PalaceParadis sur les offrandes funéraires à Taïwan, brûlées pour assurer le confort matériel des défunts dans l'au-delà. Courte présentation par le commissaire de l'exposition, Julien Rousseau #LT pic.twitter.com/CRIV7JpDbA

— musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (@quaibranly) 17 de junio de 2019

Interesting exhibition about paper offerings at funerals.

I think most on forumosa don’t understand French.

The thread is full of nice pictures… and Twitter has a translation function of each tweet.

Jet privé, yacht, garde du corps...Rien n'est trop beau pour honorer un défunt et lui assurer le meilleur statut social dans l'au-delà #PalaceParadis pic.twitter.com/026aHKYw3O

— musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac (@quaibranly) 17 de junio de 2019

I don’t know how a combination works. But if it’s Buddhist, be prepared to read hours of Buddhist scripts multiple times going into the funeral. You have to prepare the loved one to become a Buddha. You’ll do this the evening of their death and many other times until the actual funeral. A head monk will come lead you guys most likely from her temple. And you’ll need to ask permission from any other loved ones buried if you put her remains in a family tomb/plot. Also if you have any ancestral temple like my family, you’ll have to bring her there to live with the other ancestors with her and their permission. How you ask for dead people’s permission? Someone like a monk should do it for you.

Hope this helps. What you’re responsible for depends on your relation to the person.

Is anyone that is not family in the same room as “fetching bits of bone remains with chop sticks”?

What about really close non-family friends?

I have one coming up and I’m invited and expected to attend but I’m not family so wondering if I will see all this?

Ask me in about a week.

If we didn’t know you better, one could say you are looking forward for that…


If you are only a friend of the family you are not really going to participate in anything after the initial funeral rites. There’s actually no real reason for you to follow everyone to the crematorium because unless you are a member of the family, you’re just going to do a lot of sitting around and waiting.

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Summary from the most recent daytime funeral I attended. I guess it would be considered a combination Buddhist Tao Taiwan traditional funeral middle/upper middle class family in central Taiwan.

Someone recommended to wear black clothing which I did. People there were wearing lots of colors and mostly daily regular dress even slippers and shorts and sporting team athletic shirts. I was overdressed with leather shoes and even went to the car after arrival to dress down.

Depending on the type of funeral and how close you are to the family member they might even ask you to cover up with a particular robe that immediate family members wear. They no-pressure offered me to wear one and I’m just a friend of the family but I declined and instead wore a ribbon on my chest.

People were using phones, etc during service. After each prayer chant even the monks would immediately check their phones.

Did not use air con and left the doors open.

There are multiple funerals occurring at this particular location at the same time. No matter how solemn your funeral may be at any moment, there could be multiple funerals with different styles of music competing in the background. Ours had a terrible trumpet drum band outside. One had an organ player, one had saxophone and trumpets, one had of DJ and a band, and one had traditional Chinese music. Seems like it’s more important to make loud noise than to make good music.

There are multiple Master of Ceremonies and every activity like praying or bowing or walking or kneeling is well directed by voice and hand directions. Most everyone attending had no clue of the proper procedures and needed the direction.

You could smell beer and whiskey wafting through the air through the entire complex.

Funeral processions all mixed together going into incinerator building. There were color-coordinated lines on the floor directing you which direction to go for which particular activity inside the building.

At gravesite were bugs, ants, mosquitoes, and heat.

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I’ll go ahead and ask the question that is in everyone’s mind…
No bikini clad pole dancers?

No bikini or pole dancers at this funeral. But plenty of beer, kaoliang, binlang… I think I’ve only been to weddings and temple ceremonies (and KTV) with bikini dancers, pole dancers, lingerie, strippers.

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