February 12, 2013

Taiwanese funeral

My grandmother became 97 and hasn't been sick or anything. Look, she even wore flip flops a couple years ago. Wasn't she cute and adorable? Well, but she was also very strong - a true matriarch. I thought we would still celebrate her 100th birthday but unfortunately, she died one day...

She got five children, four boys and one girl, three living abroad in Germany and Brazil, 11 grandchildren in total. Everybody gathered within 48 hours after her death. I even met cousins I didn't even know I had. A sad reason to gather but mostly nice to see everyone.

She used to live in Germany for a year or two. I don't remember because I was too small.

 

The funeral was not as I expected. It drove me nuts that I didn't know about the customs and what to wear. My Chinese friends told me white. The Internet blue for family, light blue for grandchildren. My dad wasn't of big help either. He just told me, whatever will be fine, just no red... My aunt told me, also no pink, not even the slightest hint of rosé. So I ended up packing way to many things into my suitcase just to be surprised with a black gown which my relatives gave me for the funeral...

 

All close family members get a black gown with a beige bow on the right shoulder, while further family members either get a red towel or a pink towel depending on the father's or mother's side. The priest wore some purple gown. He threw it on and off all the time probably because it wasn't too comfortable.

Saying goodbye in Taiwan takes a long time. My grandma has been in some kind of fridge for a week so that people could moan and look at her. Since there are no mortuaries, the corpse are preserved in these special fridges... Also for preservation and against the smell... I didn't take pictures from the fridge, as I thought it's disrespectful.

The funeral itself was loud and colorful. There was a large colorful pavilion.

Big colorful flowers, food, drinks, and money for my grandmother. Everybody burnt incense for her. A band played some music... It was horrible, btw.

The money was burnt for my grandmother's afterlife. Taiwan also has a holiday for all the spirits, when money has to be burnt for all the dead family members and also so that the devil spirits stay away... It's in summer, I think...

 

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