News-and-Society As in many cultures, burials are taken very seriously in Chinese society. The rituals of Confucius Chinese tradition support prolonged mourning and to this day improper funeral arrangements are perceived to wreak ill fortune and disaster on the deceased’s family. A widow could be perceived as ‘the unlucky one’ for the remainder of her life, because she had brought bad luck to her husband. The Chinese funeral ceremony traditionally lasts over 49 days, with prayer services held every seven or ten days until the final burial. The wake must last at least one day to allow for the offering of prayers and a monk chants at night to ease the passage of the deceased’s soul into heaven. The corpse is cleaned and dressed in his/her best clothes, although never in red, which is the colour of happiness. All other clothing of the deceased is burned and before being placed in the coffin the face and body are covered with cloth. Mourners are positioned around the coffin according to their rank in the family. Children and daughters-in-law wear black, as they are considered to grieve the most, whilst grandchildren wear blue and great-grandchildren light blue. It is also customary for blood relatives and daughters-in-law to wail and cry as a sign of respect for the deceased. Any late arrivals must crawl towards the coffin. This is then nailed shut, ‘holy’ paper pasted on it to protect the body from malignant spirits and the coffin carried to the hearse. With the vehicle driving very slowly for one mile, relatives follow with their heads touching the hearse, or with a white piece of cloth linking them to it. After the funeral all clothes worn by the mourners are burned to avoid bad luck associated with the death. The mourning period, symbolised by a piece of coloured cloth worn on the sleeve, continues for a further 100 days. As a land prone to considerable seismic activity, China is no stranger to bereavement affecting it on a national scale. In 2008 over 70,000 people died in the massive earthquake that shook Sichuan and the surrounding provinces and China saw an unprecedented level of mourning, lasting three days. Police closed the roads around the central quake zone in preparation for the national dawn ceremony and hundreds of former residents, many heading off on foot well before daybreak, gathered together. Families, friends and neighbours stood motionless for the nationwide silence, while in Beijing air-raid sirens wailed and the stock exchange ceased trading for three minutes. Flags flew at half-mast and people placed flowers alongside burning candles, with thousands holding photos of their dead children or burning paper money as an offering. All public entertainment was cancelled, presenters on state television wore black and the Olympic torch relay was suspended. This was the first time that China had marked such an occasion for its people. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: