Funeral Rites and Ritual in Singapore
For Both Buddhist and Taoist Funeral Service
This ritual during funeral service is done by placing items inside the casket such as the incense and joss paper (Kor Chee or the safe money), to be used by the deceased on his/her journey to the other world.
Placing of pearl/jade in the mouth
This act signifies that the deceased can be born again with a better life. In the past, only the Emperor was entitled to such practice but now they have opened it to everyone.
Offering of Food
This belief during funeral service signifies that whether spirit or human, both are equal beings. For Buddhist funeral service, food to be offered must be vegetarian-friendly only.
There are 4 or 5 different colour patches but the person is to wear one that depends on their dialect and relationship with the deceased; children are to wear a gunny sack because it belongs to the lowest grade of cloth – a form of respect. If the deceased is a male elder, the patch will be worn on the left arm and right arm if the deceased is a female elder.
Wake + Vigil
The children and offspring are to stay awake, to pray and hope that the deceased will come back to life.
For visitors, an auspicious practice during funeral service, wait for it to come off naturally, but must remove before entering home.
For good karma, a part of the mourning process will be to avoid killing innocent animals, nor digesting meat or seafood dishes.
The loved ones will be reciting sutras and Buddha’s name to ease the anxiety of soul and to achieve a sense of calm and peacefulness so that the deceased may stay focus on his/her determination to reach Paradise.
49 Days Ritual
According to the teachings of Earth Store Bodhisattva, to create merits, charitable deeds will be done and dedicated to the deceased in the next 49 days, to rescue them from their sufferings.
100th Day Ritual
After a hundred days, the complete departure from this world is finished. This is also the date line for the completion of the tomb construction. Utmost prayers are offered to the deity overseeing the tomb.
1st/3rd Year Anniversary
The 1st year consist of 12 lunar months, while the 3rd year is the 24th month of the date of death. Post-funeral ceremonies like Gong Teck are observed to symbolise the unity of the deceased with the ancestors.
For Taoist Funeral Service Only
Summoning of Soul
This is a procedure done by calling out the deceased’s name, in the hopes of the return of soul, so that the loved one might be resurrected.
An act of acquiring water from Earth deity that is usually done by the elder son, to symbolise the ‘letting go of earthly attachments’, and to clean the deceased’s spirit for the next world to come. Note: This is not applicable to some dialects.
Burning of Paper Beside Coffin
This serves as an entry pass to go smoothly to the netherworld, where the paper is to be burnt piece by piece.
One of the main rituals include chanting to break hell, reciting of sutras, and asking for repentance of sins. The priests will sing songs (especially for the females_ about labour and to bridge them the deceased to crossover from earth to heaven.