Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: chinese etiquette for family member death ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: chinese etiquette for family member death
Category: Relationships and Society > Cultures
Asked by: scaryberry-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 09 Apr 2003 09:10 PDT
Expires: 09 May 2003 09:10 PDT
Question ID: 188295
Hi - a co-worker of mine (Chinese - PRC) had a grandparent pass. 
Apparently a big deal.  I was wondering what would be a token of
condolence in China?  Nothing extravagent (coworker) and should be
formal/professional.  It would be nice to do something considered
"genuinely Chinese".  Also - if there is a particular
gift/custom/whatever - would it be considered rude coming from A) a
coworker or B) a non-Chinese person?


Subject: Re: chinese etiquette for family member death
Answered By: tar_heel_v-ga on 09 Apr 2003 14:57 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks for your question and my condolences to your friend upon their
loss.  It is very thoughtful of you to want to provide a token of
condolence.  Flowers are appropriate, however, they cannot have
thorns, therefore, roses are out of the question.  The most popular
funeral flowers are yellow or white chrysanthemums.  Most families
observe a month of mourning during which visitors come to greet the
family bringing gifts of food.  There are gifts to avoid:

"Do not give foreign currency, including commemorative coins. 
Do not give cheese. Cheese is not in the Chinese diet and is generally
not liked.
Do not give Western-style table wine, as it is not popular in China. 
Do not give clocks, especially to an older person. The English word
"clock" sounds like the Chinese word for "funeral."
Do not give anything in sets of four, or with the numbers 4 or 40 on
China Business Protocol

As noted by HTH, money (a small token amount) is another gift that can
be given as well.  At a traditional Chinese funeral, guests are given
a small amount of cash (about a dollar) that is used to purchase a
treat to help sweeten the memory of the deceased to remove some of the
bitterness of the moment.  If the funeral is to be held in China, do
not send money, as noted above.  As opposed to money, it would also be
appropriate to make a donation to a charity in the name of the

Thanks again for your question and I hope the above information has
been helpful.  If you need any additional clarification, please let me
know prior to rating my answer.



Search Strategy:
chinese funeral condolence gift
chinese funeral customs gifts
chinese funeral customs gifts
chinese funeral customs expressing condolences

Funeral customs & the wake

Funeral customs and etiquette

A Chinese Funeral

The Etiquette of Funerals and Mourning Rituals
scaryberry-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Tarheel, thanks much.  good info/links.  Appreciate the answer. 
Thanks for your input too Houstonguy.

Subject: Re: chinese etiquette for family member death
From: houstonguy-ga on 09 Apr 2003 13:34 PDT
I copied and pasted your question and e-mailed it to my boss(a
50-something chinese woman)here is her reply as written:

"I think that you can send a card with some money for flower. Since
the grandparent is not here, it is hard for you to buy flower unless
they have some ceremony here."

Not very glamorous, that's for sure.

Subject: Re: chinese etiquette for family member death
From: houstonguy-ga on 09 Apr 2003 16:08 PDT
"Do not give cheese. Cheese is not in the Chinese diet and is
not liked."

hmmm...wonder why..."...30 to 50 million of the American people are
lactose intolerant, approximately 80 percent of the Asian American
population, "
Subject: Re: chinese etiquette for family member death
From: tar_heel_v-ga on 10 Apr 2003 14:00 PDT

Thanks for the 5-star rating and the generous tip.  I am glad I could
be of assistance!


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy