An American in Chengdu

Paying respects | May 28, 2010

When someone dies in China, their family sets up a white tent outside their home with folding chairs and tables and, on the back wall of the tent, a picture of the deceased. Friends send big paper wreaths, which the family displays, and come by the tent to pay their respects. To me paying respects doesn’t look much different from what the Sichuanese do when they’re not grieving: they drink tea, eat peanuts and sunflower seeds and toss the shells on the ground, chat, and play cards. The tent stays up for a few days, with people inside at all hours, and then abruptly disappears. There must be a company that rents them out.

There was a tent in my building’s courtyard last week, and I snapped this picture discreetly from a window. But the whole set-up disappeared before I could get a picture of the wreaths.



  1. What about the mahjong? Can’t have funeral without mahjong.

    Comment by Terminus Est — June 4, 2010 @ 7:30 am

    • I didn’t notice any. Maybe that’s later at night.

      Comment by americaninchengdu — June 5, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

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    About me

    I've come to Sichuan in search of adventure, fluency in Chinese, and awesome vegetarian food. I have to concede that the baby pandas are very cute.
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