Culture Shock! China - A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette, 2nd Edition

(Kiana) #1
80 CultureShock! China

year, and they will be honoured
and remembered through
future generations.
It is traditional in China to
wear a black band around the
upper arm when someone in the
family dies. The Chinese government provides three days
off work as bereavement leave for working members of the
deceased’s family.
Funerals are usually not religious and usually involve
family and friends gathering in a function room at the local
crematorium to show appreciation for the deceased’s life and
console bereaved family members.
If asked to attend a funeral, be sure and check with the
person that invited you whether you will play any role. There
may be an expectation, even if you do not know the person,
that you will say a few words in their honor.
Some Chinese believe that the more people to send
someone off into the next life, the stronger their chance of
getting there quickly. Because of this, a recent law has had
to be enacted banning the hire of ‘extras’ at a funeral. It
had become a trend to hire students to attend funerals to
provide the extra support needed to give a strong launch
into the next life.

By law, all bodies in China must be
cremated to save land that would
otherwise go to gravesites. The
exception to this rule are ethnic
minorities, like the Tibetans,
who are allowed to follow their
traditional customs.

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