Singapore today mainly consists of the following races: Chinese, Malays, Indians and Eurasians, and each of the races have their own set of religion and practices, which includes Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and the Baha’i Faith (information credit to the Inter-Religious Organisation Singapore). With the vast number of religions here, needless to say, funeral practices and customs differ as well. The following are thus the 5 most common types of funerals found in Singapore.

1. Christian Funeral

A Christian funeral usually consists of the tentage setup for the casket (usually a polished wood and half glass casket) area, where the tentage is decorated with carpet flooring and curtains in casket area.

Embalming, dressing & make-up by professionals will be the next step. Pall-bearer services ** where it starts with the collection of the deceased from hospital or home, and then transporting the body to the Funeral Director’s office  for embalming. After embalming, the deceased will be placed into the casket, and the casket will be sent to the tentage, usually set up at the HDB void deck. Booking of the cremation slot and arrangements will then be made by the funeral director as well as the hearse transport.

** A pallbearer is one of several funeral participants who helps carry the casket, usually covered with a pall, of a deceased person from a religious or memorial service or viewing either directly to a cemetery or mausoleum, or to and from the hearse which carries the coffin. A pall, which recalls the white garments given in baptism, as well as the Resurrection of Christ at Easter, is the heavy (and usually white-coloured) cloth that is draped over a coffin. The term “pallbearer” is used to signify someone who bears the coffin which the pall covers. – Wikipedia

2. Buddhist Funeral

A Buddhist funeral usually consists of the large tentage setup for the casket (usually a polished wood half glass casket) area and the visiting area, where the tentage is set near to the estate where the deceased lived previously. Carpet flooring and curtain decorations will be setup at the casket area.

Embalming, dressing & make-up by professionals will be the next step. Pall-bearer services ** where it starts with the collection of the deceased from hospital or home, and then transporting the body to the Funeral Director’s office for embalming. After embalming, the deceased will be placed into the casket, and the casket will be sent to the tentage, usually set up at the HDB void deck. Booking of the cremation slot and arrangements will then be made by the funeral director as well as the hearse transport. Buddhist monks are then invited to do chanting at encoffining (usually consisting of chanting on the last night, and one on funeral day).

Vegetarian food & fruit offerings sets for each chanting session will be provided for the deceased and also Buddha’s offering. Funeral necessities will also be prepared, such as joss sticks, joss stick urn, candles, joss papers sandalwood, sandalwood powder, mourning clothes (white t-shirts and pants usually) and also lotus candles.

Once all the rituals are done and on the last day of the funeral (may stretch out to 5 days depending on the scale and the expected no. of guests coming to offer their last respects to the deceased), an aircon bus is usually hired to bring the family and friends back and forth the crematorium, where the body is cremated at Mandai Crematorium.

3. Catholic Funeral
The requirements of a Catholic funeral are well documented in this Singapore Funeral Services website. From Vigil, Funeral Liturgy to Rite of Committal, all important aspects as thoroughly explained.

4. Taoist funeral
Again SingaporeFuneralServices.net did an exceptional job documenting the Taoist funeral as well. From rightly stating that Taoist put more emphasis on health and longevity than afterlife to the fact that Taoist practices of some Singapore families are at times influenced by Buddhism, they explain why little is documented about Taoist funerals on the internet.

More importantly, they also list some of the Taoist funeral rites common to all dialect groups here in Singapore.

5. Muslim Funeral
Unlike most religions where a wake is customary, Sharia law requires that the body be buried as soon as possible after death. A good website to refer to for Islamic funeral traditions is Everplans.com.

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