Singapore, according to a 2009 government census report, 74% were Chinese and the most widely practiced religion is Buddhism with 33% of the recent census declared themselves as disciple. Buddhism is the most followed religion, although Singapore is a city-state with a diverse religious belief with most major religious denominations and a diverse mix of ethnic people originating from various countries.
Accustomed traditions are practiced through Chinese Mahayana, the most predominant form of Buddhism. There are also ethnic groups belonging to Tibetan Buddhism which is making a slow progress into the country. Religious beliefs are practiced strictly and should be observed properly in order to avoid conflicts. In Singapore, there are also do’s and don'ts that you need to follow. If you are a Christian or belonging to any denomination and one of the family member of your Buddhist friend died, you must have to follow these practices during a Chinese funeral service in Singapore. Also, Buddhist must have to follow these rituals and rites before, during and after the funeral custom.
v During the funeral service, all statues of deities in the home are covered with ta red paper. Mirrors are also removed. The body or the coffin should not be exposed in a mirror to avoid seeing the reflection. It is believed that if the deceased’s coffin reflects on the mirror, a close family relative would shortly follow the deceased in the near future.
v A gong should be placed in the left of the entrance if the deceased is a male and to the right if the deceased is a female. A white cloth should also be hung over the doorway
v The dress of the deceased should be at his or hers best clothing with either white, black, brown or blue and not with fancy accessories.
v The deceased’s clothing should be burned.
v Food is placed on the casket as an offering to the deceased.
v The casket should be positioned facing the inside of the house.
v The deceased’s comb is broken into two, one part is kept by the family and the other is placed in the coffin.
v As a custom, the blood relatives and daughters-in-law should mourn as a sign of respect and loyalty.
v A Buddhist monk should lead a Buddhist prayer at the service.
v The family should not wear any jewelry during the wake
v The deceased, the visitors and the family should not wear any red items of clothing. It is believed that red clothing will turn the deceased into a ghost.
v Children and grandchildren should not cut their hair for 49 days after the death. However this tradition is now only observed by older generations.
v For the visitors, avoid taking pictures, get drunk at the post-funeral gathering, laughing if there are mourners.
v In traditions, the parents are not allowed to offer prayers to their children.
v Do not wear any red in burial because in Chinese traditions, red is the symbolic color of happiness. Dark-colored or black attire are acceptable.
v Do not videotape the funeral service unless you've been given permission by the family
v Avoid sitting in the front row and waving and greeting everyone coming in. The front row is especially reserved for the family
v Do not removed anything in the coffin as a memento.
v Do not offer to make a beer-run.