I don't know why, but the atmosphere at funerals give me the creeps. And the music played sounded especially horrible to my ears.
I remember the time my grandfather died when I was very little. I was not very close to my grandfather. He stayed in my uncle's house and I seldom visit him. When he died, my family had to attend the funeral at my uncle's house.
That night when I entered my uncle's house, I saw a huge coffin in the hall. As I was very small, I did not know any taboos related to Chinese funerals. The coffin was higher than me so I was eager to climb up to have a look.
When my mom saw what I was trying to do, she quickly pulled me aside. I don't remember what she said at that time, but it had somehow instilled a fear in me. That I was not supposed to touch coffins or dead people!
Then I saw my aunt putting something into the coffin. When she had done that, she started to cry. I asked aloud to my mom why was auntie crying? Was her fingers stuck in the coffin and she hurt herself when she tried to pull them out? Everyone laughed at that point. Even my aunt. I was slightly embarrassed.
That was my first experience of a funeral. Much of the details I could no longer remember.
But a few days later, I remember seeing this ceremony at my uncle's house. It was related to my grandfather's funeral. A man dressed in old traditional Chinese costume was jumping over a fire. I do not know what ceremony was that to this very day. Anyone knows?
The man would jump over the fire, but before he jumped, he would fill his mouth with wine. As he jumped over the fire, he would spit out the wine onto the fire causing it to flare up high. It was a spectacle to watch!
I even imitated his actions when I got back home, minus the fire and the wine, of course! I just used a toy pail to represent the fire and jumped over it! Haha!
Many years later, my grandmother died. At her funeral, there were talks about keeping the cats all caged up. Especially black cats. It seemed that there were many stray cats at her house. When I learnt why they had to cage up those cats, my hair stood on end.
It seemed that if a black cat were to accidentally jump over the corpse, the corpse would spring right up! This story had haunted me for days and gave me sleepless nights!
I also learnt that it was taboo to see the coffin being nailed shut. I was so curious I almost wanted to see how they nailed the coffin. But I did not. Fear kept me from doing so and I kept my head bowed and my eyes closed during the entire process.
When we returned home from the funeral, my mom would make sure that I and my siblings washed our feet outside before entering our house. My mom said that was to prevent bad luck from following us home. Of course, I heard a more fearful reason later on. It was not just bad luck. It was to prevent evil spirits at the funeral from following you home!
I still wonder to this very day if these are all nothing but just superstitions.
Will a cat jumping over a dead corpse causes the corpse to wake up?
What will happen if you watch the coffin being nailed?
And what will happen to you if you forget to wash your feet and enter your house after attending a funeral?