In the traditional Cantonese funeral customs, a bowl of rice with a duck head is usually seen on the worship table. This is an offering required by the Taoist Priest when performing the worship ritual for the deceased. This bowl of duck head rice will be placed on the worship table till the funeral day. And the use of this duck head rice as offering in this worship custom can only be seen at the Cantonese funerals.
Why do the Cantonese customs require duck head and rice for worship?
There are two myths.
First saying was said to be that the poor families used to have nothing but white rice and a few chickens and ducks at home. When a family member died in the family, they had no money to buy offerings. They had to kill the duck at home and use the duck head as an offering. The rest of the meat is used to prepare meals. Why only use duck heads instead of chicken heads or anything else is still unknown.
Second saying was that the duck head can be used to stop evil spirits. It is said that when someone in the family dies, the family’s luck will decrease. When the family’s luck is reduced, it will be easy for the evil spirits to invade and affect the family. The purpose of duck head is to resist the invasion of evil spirits and protect the family from being harmed.
This custom has been passed from then to the present.