A Chinese funeral

I wonder if anyone ever catches on fire at a Chinese funeral. If you’ve never been to one, there is a lot of bowing, praying and burning of offerings. The offerings we had delivered to the funeral home were ridiculous in size. We bought a mansion, a horse and a subway train car, which are model replicas of earthly items you wish for the deceased to have in the afterlife. Those items will then be burned and sent to Heaven. The New York City subway train car is because my grandmother didn’t like cars, she always felt car sick from the movement. She preferred trains as her mode of transportation. Other people typically buy expensive cars, like model BMW’s.

When you arrive you take the 3 lite incense sticks and bow 3 times paying your respects to the deceased and then walk counterclockwise to the body, say I am sorry for your loss to the family lined up and make your way to a seat.

While seated, you can spend the entire time at the service rolling paper into shapes that resemble old money. Then you burn them in a giant open furnace to offer to the deceased. I like the tradition because it keeps your mind occupied on something other than the thought that you are sitting at a funeral.

On the way out, you eat a piece of candy and take a nickel wrapped in white paper to spend, symbolizing the wish for your good health and prosperity.

If so inclined, you then go to dinner with the family and eat a traditional shared meal specially prepared for this occasion.

Many family and friends attended the funeral. It was so kind of everyone to attend and be inconvenienced on a Wednesday. Thank you for your prayers, your thoughts and your presence.


  1. Sending our thoughts & prayers. I like the symbolism of the nickel…very sweet to think of others during your grieving. See you soon friend xo


  2. I’ve been to a Chinese funeral, my grandma’s few years back. It is true, do we ever catch on fire since we burn stuff left and right? Amazing that we haven’t yet. It is hard seeing a deceased body and saying your last good byes to the one you love. It was hard for me when I got the news that my grandma passed away as she basically raised me while my parents worked.

    Sorry for your lose and condolences to you and your family.


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