Thursday, December 15, 2011


A spectator sends the following to the ' Grey River Argus' An interesting ceremony took place on Tuesday last in tho shape of: a Chinese funeral. The person interred was a poor fellow named Tung Lum Lan, aged 47 years. He came to Greymouth on Friday last, afflicted with lung disease, which terminated fatally on Sunday last at 5 a.m Deceased was a native of Canton, and, although there are nearly 1,000 Chinese in Westland, only five of them (those belonging to the firm of Kum Sing Tie, of this town) contributed to hie interment. Upon the arrival of the followers at the hospital, where the deceased lay, the body was clothed in a costly suit, and shoes were placed upon his feet, after having the leather part of soles taken off. The body was then placed in the coffin, and the hands filled with cards 5 inches by 1 inch, inscribed with Chinese characters, many more of the same description being placed on the body ; these were passports entitling him to accommodation at the various castles in the air on the road to glory-and-joss. After the departure of the funeral cortege from the hospital, the coffin was literally covered with slips of paper, similar pieces being scattered on the road to the burial ground. On arrival the coffin was lowered at the foot of tho grave on the surface ; a quantity of provisions, consisting of boiled eggs, bacon and rice, preserved lemon and nuts, chopsticks are also provided, and lest he become faint on his way a bottle of Chinese and three diminutive cups will bo found useful. An illumination was then made from lighted Chinese painted candles and sandalwood matches, to light him on his way and keep away the evil one ; a fire was made at the foot of the grave, in which they burnt a large quantity of golden paper, and, while this was being consumed, a final adieu was taken by each of tho mourners placing his two hands together, aud, in a stooping position, lifting them to his head and letting them drop to his feet. Chinese brandy, fruit and cakes were then served round to the spectators, of which all partook freely. Strips of pink calico, about 2 feet 6 inches long, enclosing a silver coin (English money), were then distributed to the public, this latter an emblem of ' good will to all ' men by the deceased. The whole proceeding was a great novelty to the Europeans, and a Maori or two, who ' kapaied ' it the latter part of the ceremony especially and I have no hesitation in saying that had their funeral customs been kuown, and sufficient notice given, the majority of the people of Greymouth would not have missed such a solemn- jolly ceremony." New Zealand Tablet, Volume III, Issue 119, 6 August 1875, Page 15

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