What is a son-in-law banner?

“Son-in-law” banner is a banner used in a ritual at the Cantonese funeral ceremony in which the son-in-law pays the last respect to the deceased father or mother-in-law. They are also called “Ming Jing” (for father-in-law) or “LingZhao” (for mother-in-law). This ritual also means to bring some good luck for the son-in-law.

The “son-in-law” banner is made up a long red cloth with 2 small cloth bags (one red and one green) tied at one end of the red cloth. The deceased’s name, country of origin and age will be written on the red cloth. It will also reflect the son-in-law’s name and inscribed with words like “Wen Liang Gong Jian” (referring to the deceased or the father-in-law is a gentle and kind person) or “Shu De Ci En” (referring to the deceased or the mother-in-law is a virtuous and kind hearted person). It will then be tied onto 2 bamboo poles that are connected to each other.

This ritual is usually performed on the day of the funeral. During the ritual, both the daughter and the son-in-law will wear red shirts and its symbolic good luck. The son-in-law banner will be first placed on the chair, after the consecration of the Taoist priest, the son-in-law will hold the banner upright, representing rising high up with good luck.

The banner will then be tied to a car that the son-in-law will sit in to take to the columbarium. When the funeral begins, the son-in-law’s car will lead the way in front of the hearse to the columbarium. In the traditional funerals, the son-in-law usually lead the way in front of the hearse holding on to the banner.

The banner will either be kept by the son-in-law after the funeral or to be cremated together with the deceased by placing it on the coffin.

The origin of the son-in-law banner

The following explanations are passed down from many generations based on the oral narration of senior Taoist priest. They are just for reading reference.

  1. In an unknown dynasty, the emperor learned that the empress was sad and troubled because she couldn’t go out of the palace to return to her hometown to pay respect to her late father. To soothe the empress’ grief, a courtier suggested that the emperor could write an inscription in honor of his father-in-law. Therefore, the identity, age and name of the father-in-law were all inscribed by the emperor on a red long cloth using gold powder as ink. The courtier sent the banner to the empress’ hometown, and were hung up so that people could identify the deceased.
  2. Another saying, also in an unknown dynasty. Whenever any of the official’s parents passed on, due to the status of the emperor, he is unable to pay respect personally to the deceased at the official’s hometown, a banner will be sent to the officials’ hometown.


女婿旐是由女婿为去世的岳父岳母做拜题以示最后的敬意的一种广东丧事仪式。广东女婿旐的名称也有男女之分。岳父- 铭旌,岳母-灵旐。 它也有代表着为女婿带回一些好彩头的意思。

女婿旐是一条红色的长布字条,一头绑着两个小布袋,一红一绿,然后绑在用两支接上的竹竿撑起来。布上写上了亡者的名字,原籍和岁数。也写上拜题者女婿的名字。红布条上也会题上“温良恭俭” (若死者是岳父)或 “淑德慈和 ”(若死者是岳母)这些字。

这“拜旐”仪式通常是在出殡日进行。在仪式里,女儿和女婿都会穿上红上衣,表示拜旐是件好彩头的事。道长会在‘拜旐’ 仪式里为‘女婿旐’念经开光。女婿旐先是摆放在椅子上,经道长开光后,女婿会把“女婿旐”撑起直立,代表着步步高升的意思。再把‘女婿旐’绑在一辆将会载着女婿的车上。当出殡时,这女婿车会在灵车前领路,带领着灵车前往焚化厂。在传统出殡仪式里,‘女婿旐’是由女婿撑起着,走在灵车前领路。




  1. 很久以前,不知哪个朝代的皇后,因为父亲去世而很想回乡去拜祭亡父以尽孝道。可是,碍于自己是皇后的身份和没有皇帝的准许,是不能尚自出宫回乡去拜祭。皇后为此而感到悲伤和烦忧无奈。当皇帝得知皇后为了不能出宫回乡去拜祭父亲而悲伤烦恼,心里就想着要如何能安慰和平复皇后的悲伤。于是,皇帝召来宫中大臣帮忙想办法如何不出宫而又能平复皇后的忧伤。有一臣子提议皇帝可亲笔题文以祭岳父大人。皇帝听后吩咐臣子找来一条长红布,用金粉成墨,亲题了岳父大人的身份、享年和姓名在红布上。再让臣子送到治丧处,高挂起来以让人识别逝者的身份。
  2. 另一解说,也不知哪个朝代的皇帝,若朝廷里的官员家中有父母去世,也碍于皇帝身份,不能降下身份到官员家拜祭,所以也想到用一条长红布,亲题了官员父母的身份、享年、姓名让臣子送到官员家治丧处,高挂起来以让人识别逝者的身份。