Continuing our look at international death rituals, we move to Taiwan. There are an array of ways to comfort mourners in Taiwan. Bringing food to those in grief and offering a shoulder to cry on is seen as the most traditional way to help those who have recently lost a loved one – just as it is in many global cultures. Some even choose to help via monetary means, whether it be supplementing outgoings for the funeral costs or assisting with bills during the recovery after an expensive funeral.
However, there are some people in Taiwan who believe in a different approach to make the experience of dealing with the loss of a loved one more bearable. One of the more infamous traditions is that of using strippers, a convention yet to reach the shores of the UK.
Strippers at a Funeral?
It has been questioned many times why Taiwanese strippers are seen at sacred temples in Taiwan, little do tourists of Taiwan know the reasoning behind this. Within the realms of a funeral service, strippers are seen as comforting figures. Their services are utilised in order to comfort those in mourning. Family and friends of the deceased may even request a lap dance from them.
Apart from comforting the grieving and easing the mood of a funeral service, strippers are also used to appease wandering spirits. Loud pumping pop music and neon lights give the occasion a very upbeat feel. “This is hard work but I need to make a living,” says 18-year-old En En, out of breath after stripping for the crowd after a funeral which consisted of men, women and children. They have become apart of Taiwanese religion and folk culture. Stripping nude is rarely seen in public as in Taiwan this is a criminal offence however, within private parties, festivals and funerals partial stripping can be observed.
Those who choose to completely celebrate the lives of a recently deceased loved one may also utilise an all female marching band as a send off. Mimicking the New Orleans Jazz funeral aesthetic, women in matching uniforms can be observed marching around a coffin with whistles and buttons chanting and moving in unison. In the past Taiwanese funeral marching bands would use traditional Chinese instruments, they have however moved over to go-go boots and baton twirling.
Now by all means not every funeral in Taiwan relish in these traditions and many see it as inappropriate or so out of the ordinary they won’t even acknowledge it. However the differences between these traditions is what makes each of them so special.
To find out more about Taiwanese funeral traditions click here. To connect with businesses who can help make your send-off as unique as you or your loved one why not visit our new directory with unique hearses, singers, fireworks and more.