In the past, many Cantonese speaking elderly would stay behind at the funeral wake to wait for Taoist priest to perform the last ritual – Scattered Flowers.
In this ritual, the scripts are slightly different from the Taoism scriptures that the Taoist Priest used to chant. The scripts are simple and easy to understand. The focus, is more on relieving sorrows of the family members.
The scripts (or lyrics) uses the name of different types of flowers as a theme, sung by the Taoist priest accompany by music played using a Chinese musical instrument Er-Hu, to elaborate the unhappiness, helpless and sorrow in the living world so as to comfort and persuade the deceased and the family members to accept it as part and parcel of life and to let things go.
It is also because the simple and easy-to-understand lyrics, coupled with the sorrow and sadness when sung by the Taoist Priest, some listeners will feel sad and some even teared. This is why the elderly will stay behind to wait for this last ritual – scattered flowers.
Till today, this ritual is still one of the rituals that the Cantonese Taoist priest must conduct on the first night of the wake.