Funerals in Thailand

Traditional Funerals

Funerals can last seven days or less, depending on the day when it is appropriate for the cremation to take place. The body of the deceased is kept outside the house, in an air-conditioned coffin, surrounded by flowers and wreaths. Everyone burns an incense stick and prays. Monks usually come every day, in the morning and at night, to chant prayers and receive offerings. Close family members will stay at the house and help prepare the meals for all the guests who will come everyday, for lunch or dinner. At night men stay awake to keep the deceased company, they drink alcohol and play cards. Playing cards is forbidden by the law in Thailand, but it is exceptionally authorized during funerals. The atmosphere during a funeral can seem surprisingly happy and relaxed, because the Thais believe that the decease needs happiness more than sadness.

On the last day, after a prayer with all close family members, pictures are taken in front of the coffin. Then the coffin is taken to the temple, where it is cremated. Back to the house, after a final prayer, a monk blesses family members, the house, and even the vehicles. The ash is either kept in a chedi in the local temple, or in an urn at home.

Like the description we gave of a marriage, please note that the ceremony can vary depending on local customs and habits.

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