Tuesday, November 01, 2016

A multi-cultural funeral

It certainly wasn't in my mind a week ago that I would be in Indonesia participating in a funeral.  The challenge here was that the deceased is a Christian Chinese, and a Christian ceremony was requested.  This was indicated by a prominent cross next to his picture.  As the husband of the oldest sibling, custom required me to do a short bit of talking, which I would have preferred not to do.  In hind sight it was definitely necessary and right.  The ceremony was led by an Indonesian Christian pastor in Indonesian.  The relatives of the deceased mostly didn't understand Indonesian, but there was a large number of Muslim Indonesians present to listen as the crowd was treated to a short sermon and a few Christian songs with familiar tunes.  The pastor didn't seem to know any other languages and I only know a smattering of Malay/Indonesian words, so we weren't able to communicate.

Some Japanese guests were in attendance which gave me a brief chance to dust off a long unused language.  Black was the usual color, although for some it was black T-shirts and shorts.  Things aren't so formal here, but that is fine with me due to the warm, humid tropical air.  A feature of the ceremony was a professional photography crew along with a video camera.  Groups were arranged around the casket for picture taking in a manner similar to a wedding.  This is much different from the procession of guests past the casket in the US.  With this ceremony done, we proceeded with police escort from one side of Surabaya to the outskirts on the opposite side to a crematorium.  Our Indonesian guests came separately by a different route all on motor scooters.  Another picture taking ceremony was the result, before committing the casket to the flames.

1 comment:

Inklings said...

May our Father in Heaven bring peace to your hearts at this time. It is never easy losing a loved one.