Hong Kong Funeral Traditions

by L-Johnson

Guests at Hong Kong funerals bring money to the host family according to customs.

Funerals and burials are taken very seriously in Hong Kong; it’s believed that, if taken lightly, bad luck will follow. At the funeral, guests usually bring a small white envelope with some money for the host family to help ease their burden and express concern. The amount must be an odd number, usually $101 HKD ($13 USD). In return, the family will usually give a packet of paper handkerchiefs together with small items like sweets and a nominal amount of coinage, $1, $5, or $10 HKD. Anything given to the guest should be consumed and not taken home. The guest is to stand at the altar, and bow three times, in return the host family will bow back. The guests pray while holding three joss sticks, which is a type of incense. It is respectful to stay for a while and not be rushed. It is optional for the guest to view the body, which is behind the altar. When they feel it’s time to leave, the guest goes to the front of the altar to do the bow ceremony as before. After leaving, the contents of the white envelope are then used.

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