What is the coffin-raising ceremony?

When the Chinese hold funeral wake, the wake usually last for a few days on odd number like one, three or seven days before the burial. (Day 1 starts from the day the deceased died). Similarly, this also apply to Cantonese wake. However, why only odd (singular) number and not even? According to Chinese customs, it is unfortunate to hold a funeral, so it is often hoped that it will only happen once.

However, in the modern times, the cremation day is determined by the government system and cannot be changed. If the day falls on an even number (such as the fourth or sixth day from the day of the deceased’s death), a coffin-raising ceremony is needed to be held. Or when the day of funeral happens to be an inauspicious day, it is also necessary to hold a coffin-raising ceremony to skip the inauspicious day.

The coffin-raising ceremony in Cantonese funeral is usually held on the night before the funeral. The four Taoist priests stood at the four corners of the coffin individually, holding joss paper under the coffin, waiting for the order of the leading Taoist priest to raise the coffin together ‘symbolically’ and the ceremony is completed.


华人办丧事,停丧到出殡火化的日子,通常是取单位数。如,一天,三天,五天 和 七天。(从亡者去世那天算起)。广东人也不例外。为何单数而不用双数呢?华人的风俗,办丧事是属于不吉利的事,所以往往希望就此一次,别再有不吉利的事发生。