How We Honor Multicultural Traditions at Cypress Lawn

As members of the Bay Area community, it is a true honor to be able to experience firsthand the vast variety of cultures and religions our area has become known for.

At Cypress Lawn, it has remained our priority over the years to have staff members who can understand and identify with the needs of all of our neighbors. We have found that having staff who are knowledgeable about all cultures gives us the opportunity to express additional meaning, value, and comfort to families.

In this blog, we are sharing information about the specific cultural traditions of some of our neighbors so you can learn more about our community.

Mexican Funeral Traditions

We are honored and proud to serve our neighbors who practice Mexican traditions and rituals. While each family has their own unique belief system, we’ve found that some families practice a mixture of Mayan, Aztec, and Catholic beliefs. Although the specific traditions for each family may differ, we’ve found that many families incorporate their Catholic faith into their end-of-life arrangements. Funerals typically include a Catholic Mass; however, the wake or reception afterwards is more informal and includes food and drink for guests. Families also value being able to have a specific place where they can honor their loved one on All Soul’s Day.

Chinese Funeral Traditions

A large part of San Francisco’s vibrant cultural traditions includes the influence of the many Chinese families who have made the U.S. their home. In fact, the Bay Area has one of the largest Chinese American communities in America. Over the years, understanding exactly what our Chinese neighbors need and value has remained important to our staff.

An important aspect of Chinese culture is the honor and respect shown to elders. Some families believe it is vital to give their deceased loved one a fitting tribute, as their relative will protect future generations of the family. Funerals can be multi-faceted and include elements of different religions and traditions. For example, guests at some funerals may wear a black band around their arm. Ceremonies could also include the burning of joss paper and offerings to specific deities.

Some Chinese families choose to incorporate the principles of feng shui into the burials of their loved ones. Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that is believed bring harmony to your surroundings by guiding the flow of energy through a space. Incorporating feng shui into a burial influences not just the design of the headstone or memorial but also specific details about the time, place, and orientation of how someone is laid to rest.

Filipino Funeral Traditions

Over the years, we’ve served many families who have come to America from the Philippines or have family members who practice Filipino cultural traditions. We have found that many of the Filipino families we serve observe the rites and rituals of the Roman Catholic faith. Those who are Catholic will pray the rosary for several days following the loss of a loved one, along with 40 days after the loss, and again one full year following the loss. Visitations for Filipino families may last several days. Guests who attend the service may also give money to the family of the deceased — both as a gesture of love and as a contribution to offset any expenses the family may have incurred. Grieving family members may also decide to wear black for an extended period time as an expression of their loss.

At Cypress Lawn, if it matters to you, it matters to us. Do not hesitate to ask for specific requests for your family. Contact us anytime with your questions or concerns, and we would be happy to provide you with answers to help you make important decisions.