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GENERAL GUIDE OF FUNERAL CEREMONY

Shroud Ceremony

Near the time to prepare coffin closure, a family must have all offerings at hand (possibly get advice from the old, monks or the section caring catholic funeral.

BUDDHISM

+ Preparation of the incense, lamp, paper note (better to ask the seller to choose what suitable and divide in each part: coffin closure, rice offering, coffin move, road fall, tomb lowering, tomb port opening… just tell the seller the sum of money you want to buy.

+ Coffin place, 2 offering tables (one for Buddhism, one for the dead person), 2 candle supporters, 2 discs of fruit, 2 flower pots and rice, soup for rice offering (vegetarian or normal.)

+ List at hand those who wear mourning clothing from old from young with inscription: name in full, age (lunar calendar), relationship to the deceased… The prayer reader will name and deliver during mourning clothing ceremony.

+ Hang or stick FUNERAL ANNOUNCEMENT board front of the house as a landmark. Printed form of funeral announcement available from coffin farm, fill in with information of the deceased, time and date of a shroud, coffin move, burial… For families wishing no money, flower, gift offered, thus add in the announcement. For example, this family exempts offering, flower and gift. Thanks.

+ Shroud Commencement: Children enter, son left, daughter right. Master will read prayer (if not, radio can be turned on instead.) Service employees will proceed to wear shroud clothing, wind shroud tissue… Now children knee both sides, the eldest comes to fondle eyes of the deceased (if not close, a paper can be warmed then used to fondle downward then raise the head of the deceased, together with funeral employees to lower ground-ward three times (raising the corps high to shoulder and gradually lower to touch ground), then fix the corpse into the coffin smoothly, a small cushion is laid under the head of the decrease (made with cloth and tea or clay filled in.)

+ Mourning clothing is often made with white tissue. Red tissue is to cover aged deceased. Much and few cloths used is named Big and Small Shrouds respectively. To ensure environmental hygiene, coffin farms often use nylon bags to tie corpse up tightly, both ends of the bag are close with tissue. Certain wore cloth of the deceased can be filled in the coffin (after button detachment.) Rooms in the coffin will be filled with tea or a dry kind of perfume flower edible [called HOA LÀI in Vietnamese.]

+ Children reach the front of the coffin with head down, bow twice before closure of the coffin. Note: funeral owners avoid severe mourning, no drop of tear falling into the coffin. .
+ When the corpse is hard and cold, the body shrew and cannot be put easily into coffin, it can be warmed high on fire and gradually set the limbs straight or massage with alcohol, wine… If the corpse is very big, a pair of big chopsticks (used to turn up boiling rice) is arranged on both edges of the coffin to help the corpse fall gradually into the coffin. When the corpse is fixed, strips tying limbs, shoulders, hips… to let the deceased to lie comfortably.

+ When everything has done, coffin lid is close carefully and position in the middle of the house. Once there is other older than the deceased, the coffin is positioned on a side. Funeral employees will decorate with lamps, fix Buddhist altar, deceased altar, hang a recalling banner written with chinese characters from top to bottom, containing name, age, address of the deceased…), a ceramic water boiling pot is put under the coffin, its lid up-side-down filled with groundnut oil which is burnt with a wick… Arrangement of the deceased altar is with incense holder, flower pot, candle supporter, fruit, tea and wine, a bowl full of rice of which a bamboo chopstick pair stands in the middle, two other bowls both sides not full of rice and each bowl goes with one chopstick… To arrange the ceremony of ancestral tablet and children burn incense and bow down. Before burial, ceremony of worshiping alive person is to offer, therefore 2 bows each time.

+ Mourning clothing ceremony: This is for delivery of funeral cloth, often proceeded right after shroud ceremony. Prayer reader will deliver mourning clothing or children put on themselves for offering and repaying ceremony to attendees. Before mourning clothing, funeral owner will see no attendee but funeral assistant does, meeting and expressing sympathy. Funeral cloth is delivered officially after mourning clothing ceremony.

CATHOLICISM

House owner considers offering an important problem but mainly reading prayer for the soul of the deceased. With many helps from the Master and Section caring funeral, a family needs only to prepare funeral cloth at hand (some wear before the shroud.)

Near to the time of the shroud, catholic people within the sector will visit the family to read prayer, before Chief of the clergyman arrives to make the ceremony. What used for shroud is while tissue (no mat and red tissue used)… When the Chief finishes (the deceased has been put into the coffin) then he leaves, the up coming ritual part is done by the Masters.

Catholic ritual is rather solemn than that in Buddism. Catholic altar is simply a board written with Christian name, a pot of white lily, a Cross… behind the coffin there is a cloth embroidered with the name of the religious region, Christian name of the deceased. In front of the house there is four small flag embroidered with words. For example: Life an assignment, death a return.

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