Honouring Tradition: Tips for Planning a Japanese Funeral

Posted on

When it comes to funeral planning, it's important to note that every culture has its unique customs and traditions that are steeped in history and meaning. Japanese funerals, for example, are often steeped in rich symbolism and rooted in spirituality. From the attire to the decorations, every aspect of a Japanese funeral serves a specific purpose, and this can make the planning process seem overwhelming at first. However, with some guidance and understanding, you can plan a beautiful and respectful funeral that honours your loved one's life and upholds Japanese traditions.

Understand the Basics of Japanese Funerals

Before you begin planning a Japanese funeral, it's essential to understand the basic customs and traditions. The overarching principle is respect for the deceased, their family and their community. Japanese funerals usually take place within a few days after death and typically include a wake, a funeral ceremony and a cremation. During the funeral, attendees wear black or dark clothing and offer condolences to the family.

Choose a Location

In Australia, funerals can take place in a funeral hall, a temple or a shrine. If you're planning a funeral abroad, you may choose to hold the ceremony in a Japanese consulate or embassy. Alternatively, you can hold the funeral in a more traditional setting, such as a temple or shrine in your community. You may also want to consider conducting a private service for family members only before the public ceremony.

Select Appropriate Decorations

Japanese funerals are known for their symbolic use of flowers and other decorations. In Japan, white flowers are considered the most appropriate for funerals, and red and yellow flowers are avoided. Traditional Japanese funeral decorations may include a funeral tablet, incense and a floral arrangement.

Hire a Conducting Priest

A conducting priest or funeral director will oversee the ceremony and ensure that everything runs smoothly. If you're not familiar with Japanese customs, it's especially essential to hire a priest to help you plan and conduct the funeral. They can advise you on the appropriate rituals, prayers and other aspects of the ceremony and provide comfort to the family.

Consider the Reception

After the funeral, it's customary to hold a reception for the attendees. The reception may include food and drink, and attendees will have the opportunity to share their condolences and memories of the deceased. The reception is a way to bring people together and show gratitude for their support.

In conclusion, planning a Japanese funeral is a meaningful and respectful way to honour the life of your loved one. By understanding the customs and traditions that underlie Japanese funerals, you can create a beautiful and memorable ceremony that reflects their life and values. Remember to seek advice from a conducting priest or funeral director to ensure that everything runs smoothly and be prepared to offer comfort and support to your family and friends during this difficult time.

Contact a local funeral director to learn more about Asian funerals.