One of the best things about working at Cypress Lawn, is the gift we having of interacting daily with our community’s rich diversity. Because we serve all different types of people from various cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds, we get to witness a number of different traditions that are sometimes quite different from the typical westernized funeral service.
One of the groups we’re privileged to learn from are those who have come to America from the Philippines. 86% of people in the Philippines identify as Roman Catholic, most likely due to Spanish influence in their country that spans back to the 16th century. As a result, many of the Filipino families we work with follow most of the Catholic funeral traditions and rites.
If you look closely though, you will see certain aspects that are unique to their native culture. Here are just a few ways a Filipino funeral services may be different from what you’re used to seeing:
- Visitations are often much longer than most westerners are used to – some lasting up to seven days. Here at Cypress Lawn, the longest Filipino visitation we hosted lasted four days.
- While service attendance varies from funeral to funeral, we have also noticed that Filipino services are very well attended. Death is a significant event in Filipino culture, and everyone the person has known throughout their life is likely to show up to pay their respects.
- Filipinos who practice Catholicism will say a rosary for nine days after the death of a loved one. Another rosary is said 40 days after the loss, and then again on the one-year anniversary.
- It is not uncommon to see funeralgoers give money to the family, both as a sign of love and to ease the burden of funeral costs.
- For up to a year, grieving family members will choose to wear black in some way. Men might wear a black ribbon around their arm, while women could don a black pin, or dress completely in black.
We consider it both a challenge and an honor to be work with so many different kinds of people to create a tribute for their loved one that is personal, unique, and in keeping with their religion and the customs that can bring so much comfort during difficult times. If you have any questions about Filipino funeral services in the Bay Area, don’t hesitate to contact Cypress Lawn.