Dealing with the grief of a lost loved one is never easy. But often, families need to also settle administrative tasks and arrangements for the deceased’s funeral, all while battling their own emotions. Having a clear guide of what needs to be arranged can vastly expedite the process, and make it mentally easier on the bereaved who are already having a hard time.
For the death of a Buddhist individual, families can opt for funeral arrangements by a Buddhist casket company. While the funeral company can take care of most aspects of the funeral proceedings, there are still some things families need to decide on. Here are some considerations to make when planning a Buddhist funeral:
1. Duration of the wake and funeral
Buddhist wakes are typically held for an odd number of days, with the funeral held on the last day. However, these days, there are also packages for even-numbered days. In Singapore, the maximum duration is usually 7 days – any longer, you will need to apply for a permit.
The duration you choose might depend on several factors like your budget and number of guests you expect. If the deceased is someone who is well-esteemed with a large social network, a longer duration will allow for more people to pay their respects. If you expect any overseas visitors, a slightly longer duration will also give these guests time to make their way over.
2. Location of wake and funeral
In Singapore, wakes held at void decks are a common sight. However, if the deceased or next-of-kin doesn’t live in a HDB, the funeral can also be held at a funeral parlour. For those who live on private property, the funeral can also be held at the home, if there is enough space.
The location you choose will depend on your or the deceased’s preferences, if they have made any known. Some people prefer to hold it at home or near the home, as it is more familiar and meaningful to them. However, if these are not ideal locations, a funeral parlour can also provide a very comfortable space for wakes.
Decorations may sound inessential, but they are actually an important part of the funeral as well. Typically, these include items like flowers, tentage, backdrop, and so on. Having appropriate decorations set the mood right for the serious event, and shows respect to the deceased and the religion.
For Buddhist funerals, the colour scheme is usually white and/or yellow. White, as the colour of mourning, also represents purity and freedom, while yellow is a sacred colour in the Buddhist religion.
4. Religious rites
For Buddhist funerals, rites hold a very important position, as they are the family’s way of sending off their departed loved one. These rites may hope for a better next life for the deceased, and also put them on a smooth journey from this life to the next.
You’ll need to hire a monk to conduct these chants and prayers. You’ll also need to decide how many sessions or days of rites you desire. Usually, chanting at the last night and on the funeral day is considered essential.
Although it’s nothing glamorous, taking care of the amenities at the wake and funeral is also crucial as it adds to the comfort of your guests. For example, void deck funerals will require a mobile toilet, as well as tables and chairs for visitors. Having some snacks, meals, and beverages on hand is also a nice gesture for the attendees, especially if you expect some guests to stay overnight.
No one looks forward to planning a funeral, but it is something that needs to be done. Now that you know what goes into organising a Buddhist wake and funeral, you can smoothen the process in the event you are required to plan one.
There are also funeral companies that specialise in Buddhist funerals that can advise you more specifically on Buddhist funeral rites and traditions. At 1Stop Buddhist Funeral Services, we are here to help you plan Buddhist funerals in the most respectful and seamless manner.