Nearly 96% of Cambodians are Therevada Buddhism followers, which impact how Cambodians perform their funerals. Regarding the Cambodian Buddhist’s view, death is not the end of one’s life, it’s simply the end of a life cycle. They believe there does exist a life after death which is a rebirth. Whenever someone lay down, a Buddhist tradition will be performed by a monk to help the decease is able to move on to the next cycle of life. The monks will bless and tesnah, a kind of Dhamma talk. The Dhamma gives a speech about the value of life and death.
Cambodian Funeral Procession
During the funeral, to express the pity and love for the deceased, the spouse and children will shave their heads and wear white cloth. The son or grandson of the decease traditionally requires to shave their have and become a monk in process of funeral happened. Women at the funeral should avoid wearing make-up, jewels, or too much colorful cloth.
The body of decease will be brought back to their home to wash, dress, and place into a coffin. Every evening, the monks will come to the home and perform sermon for the body. Most importantly, the body should be kept far away from animals because Cambodian believed that if the dead hear an animal cries his or her soul will attach to that animal. Another rumor said that a cat must not jump over the coffin or else the decease will become an evil spirit. The body will be kept at home for seven days and on the last day, it will be brought to the temple for cremation.
The family would perform a parade and carry the dead coffin three rounds around the temple during the three to the seventh day of the funeral. The oldest daughter takes the responsibility to drop coins behind her back and do not look back. Then, the coffin will be lifted up and cremated. After cremation, the family of decease will choose to take the ashes of decease home or place at the temple. Another ceremony to memorize the dead will be taken place on the day 100th of the Cambodian funeral.
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