Whether you’re a family member, a friend or an acquaintance, the day of a funeral can be difficult for many people. And saying goodbye to someone is never easy. If you’ve just been informed of a death and wish to attend the funeral services, you may be wondering if there is anything you can take to a funeral. This can vary between you bringing a token of respect for the bereaved or something more practical for you to remain comfortable throughout the service. Nonetheless, our guide intends to hopefully make this difficult time a little easier for you if you’re planning to bring anything at all.
1. A sympathy card
Nothing could be simpler than bringing over a meaningful sympathy card to the funeral service. It is a straightforward way of expressing your sympathies and informing the bereaved family that you are keeping them in your thoughts. You can offer your support or leave a simple, heartfelt message in the card. Regardless, it can help in a small way to bring comfort to those who are grieving.
You’ll never go wrong with flowers – they are a traditional part of funerals and represent a symbolic gesture of extending your sympathies. Flowers are a popular tradition during funeral services. You can either have them delivered to the funeral home or straight to the bereaved family’s home. Wherever you choose to send the flowers, you can be sure that mourners will appreciate the gesture.
There are many types of flowers you can take to a funeral service. It depends on the religion and culture of the deceased. If you are planning to attend a Buddhist funeral, some common funeral floral arrangements include standing sprays with yellow or white lilies, chrysanthemums and lotuses. Be sure to avoid red flowers as it is an auspicious colour for Chinese which symbolises prosperity, happiness and life – thus, inappropriate for a funeral.
3. A cash donation
Apart from items, you can also make a cash donation directly to the family. This can help the bereaved who may be struggling financially after their loss. In Chinese funerals, Condolence donations, or pek kim, are given in odd configurations. The amount depends on the degree of closeness to the family and your financial situation, which can be offered in white envelopes. As funeral affairs are costly, the family is able to make use of these donations to offset the funeral costs.
4. Practical items to keep you prepared
Funerals are highly emotional affairs. With an intense outpouring of grief and sadness, tears may be inevitable – so you may want to come prepared with tissues or a handkerchief. They are also helpful to have at hand if you wish to offer to another mourner who is similarly affected. It would be also good to check the weather forecast beforehand to check whether you might need to bring an umbrella or a pair of sunglasses.
Be prepared with a few brief words of condolences for the family once you arrive at the funeral venue. You may also wish to write something down in the condolence book. Be mindful to participate in the funeral service and be respectful of any religious funeral rites. For instance, in Buddhist funeral services, family members and visitors pay their respects near the deceased’s casket by offering a lit joss stick and bowing. If you don’t wish to participate due to personal reasons, you may bow for a brief moment to pay your respects.