Why is everyone so joyful?!
We ran into a Buddhist funeral and we’re totally confused.
Everyone is smiling, including the widower, who’s telling jokes and laughing out loud, with a white paper crown on his head. People are playing Mahjong and card games. The youngsters want to take selfies with us, showing the victory sign. The animals are sizzling in pots for tonight’s feast.
We didn’t even believe it was a funeral until we saw the deceased in a refrigerated coffin, adorned with Christmas-like lights, paper figures and a decorated tree.
When a new guest arrives, an old man hits the gong, another one uses a remote control to switch on a machine that sounds like crackers, a guy blows the trumpet and three men dressed in white gowns kneel near the shrine and start praying. Then they go back to playing.
What about some crying? We elegantly ask through the translation app.
The crying part comes the day after tomorrow when they incinerate grandma. Until then, they have to scare off the demons.
They are these evil spirits that are lurking by when you’re going through hard times and, if they see you crushed, they bushwhack you and you’re never gonna get rid of them. Also, your deceased won’t reincarnate properly. But if you laugh, bet, drink, eat and shoot fireworks, the demons get scared and go haunt other people, and all of your relatives, either alive, dead or unborn, will have fate on their side.
So here’s to dropping dead!