A Taoist Funeral, its rites and rituals

Recently I attended a funeral wake service of someone I have not met or known, but he was a former classmate and friend of my wife. They studied together for a couple of years back when they were in their secondary school and JC. The news of his passing came as a shock to my wife who told me they were messaging each other 2 years ago regarding work. She received the news from another girl friend of hers, who was reading the newspaper on the plane while on her way back to Singapore. She was also in a state of shock to see a full page obituary of her former classmate. The deceased was 43 when he passed.

I too received a news of a friend and classmate passing too, but I did not attend the wake service after I got the message from another friend. We have not met since we graduated from college and I wasn't sure I could remember how he looked like after over 20 years. (There were many people I did not stay in contact with). So I mourned for his passing in my room and prayed for his family members by myself, which was the best I could do at that moment.

The funeral of my wife's friend at Mount Vernon Sanctuary was an elaborated one, in fact this was my first seeing such an elaborate Chinese funeral setup. A Chinese band, housed under a huge tent was playing outside the facility, and in the center, a carpeted area for the family members to kneel in prayer while a priest of some sort would chant to the music. There was also a buffet spread for anyone who came to pay respect to the deceased. Someone once told me a funeral service is for the living and not for the dead, this is so true.

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