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GENERAL GUIDE OF FUNERAL

Explanation of Certain Words and Event

Three Fathers, eight Mothers

* * Following traditional death suffering:

+ Three Father: blood father, step father and fostered father.

+ Eight Mothers: wife of father, step mother, a concubine when blood mother died ;young, fostered mother, abandoned blood mother, blood mother bur becoming a widow and then remarried to another, blood mother but a concubine, a women just giving milk from the time kid being still young.

Will

+ + Will is words in written form before death. It must be in letter for legally valid. Those who are illiterate can ask other to write down for, then reading the statement for verification of exact wording then signing or signaling. Content of will is often for dividing property, what the person to die wishes...

Suffering funeral

+ + In ancient time, once parent died, a child must come back home and suffer funeral for three years. These three years were to suffer misery, not attending any cheerful party, not in the same bed with spouse, not wearing what luxurious, but being severe with oneself, being generous to those lower, respectful visitors... in order to show respectful mind to parents. Nowadays, this habit no longer exists.

Straw Cushion, Walking Stick

+ + In ancient time, passage was narrow, traveler might have to pass by high mountain, dead person who was buried far from residential area and there was a case, a child because of over loving his or her parent, crying a lot and paying no attention to his or her fate, knocking his/her head onto rock and falling into a valley. To avoid such bad situation, others set a rule to cover the head with soft material for safer traffic.

Howling Soul

+ + In many cases, some has already ceased breath and others think him or her really dead but after a while that person revives. Therefore, even with a very tiny hope, those alive wishing to save then take clothes of the one stops breathing, climbing to a highest place and howling a sentence saying ‘Three souls seven doors’ for man or ‘three souls nine doors’ for woman ‘to return to merge into the corpse.’ After three times howling and there is nothing changed, they are pleased to enter the corpse into the coffin with a belief that the soul of the dead person will not wander but know the way to return home... And sometimes, the lid of the coffin kept open even the corpse is already in for waiting until the final minute to move the coffin to bury. This is a tradition just to please spirit.

Event of Devil Merging into The Corpse

+ + In this case, the dead body suddenly rises up. It rarely happens. There is no ghost nor devil indeed and the cause if yang electric accumulated in the body of the dead person not totally escaping out while there is a very strong yin electrical current that absorbs. Therefore, as traditional conception, when someone has died in a house, what to fear most is not to let a cat suddenly jump over the corpse. In some cases, some drops from a cup of wine fall on to the corpse, a drop of tear which is moist falling onto the corpse… also generating a gas current that may rise the corpse up but then fall down right away. A corpse follows up a person alive? A corpse cannot move itself but because of heat gas from the living person absorbing, or in case there is air current of equal convection when the dead body is paralleled to the alive. The removal of roof tile to let sunny ray in directly is a way to avoid the case.

Tradition of Burning Paperwork

+ + Following the conception of ancient people, dead persons also need food, house, cloth and money to use. Paperwork or others made with clay, straw in miniature for the yang people to carry with. There is a proverb ‘Going with ghost, wearing paper shirt’ is applied in this case.

Stunning Human Miniature

+ + In Vietnam, the tradition does not include the ‘death to follow’ [which means, an alive person is to be died and buried together with his/her dead relative] but the burning of stunning human miniature (generating the ‘death to follow’ tradition but more humanitarian somehow.) In order the dead person in the hell to be with servant, there is nobody alive to be buried but effigy made with bamboo or clay and vested with paper cloth, after worshiping, effigy is burnt with paperwork. This is a tradition even full of strange belief but hardly erased.

Firefly Ghost

+ + It is a weak blinking light, following the direction of wind, often sees in graveyards. Scientists explain this as bioluminescence from bone of human or animal escaping and matching oxygen in the air then burning into fire. This can occur during day time but not seen. The event firefly ghost following up other persons is that when a man runs, naturally he causes a current of air which absorbs firefly.

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