Chinese Funeral Dress Traditions

Updated November 21, 2016

Etiquette must be observed at Chinese weddings. Fairly strict rules dictate the colours people should wear when attending the funeral of a Chinese person. It's important to know these rules before attending such a funeral because going against the etiquette can deeply offend the deceased's family.


At Chinese funerals, the colours people wear signify how close they were to the deceased. In Chinese culture, colour is often used to signify emotion. For example, Chinese brides wear red, because red is the colour of happiness. Red is never worn to a funeral, nor is jewellery.

The Deceased

The deceased is dressed in his best clothing and all his other clothes are burnt. Chinese believe dressing a corpse in red turns it into a ghost. White, black, brown or blue clothing usually is chosen. The deceased's face will be covered with a yellow cloth and his body with a light blue cloth. Yellow represents being free of worldly cares while blue represents the earth.


Only the deceased's spouse, children and daughters-in-law wear black at Chinese funerals, as their grief is thought to be the strongest. Wearing black to a Chinese funeral when you aren't supposed to can be highly insulting, as you would be saying to family members who can't wear black that your grief is stronger than theirs. Children and daughters-in-law also wear hoods of sackcloth over their heads.


Grandchildren of the deceased wear dark blue to the funeral. Great-grandchildren wear light blue. The deceased's siblings, cousins or aunts and uncles also may wear light blue to the funeral.

Bright colours

Sons-in-law, friends, co-workers and others attending the funeral wear bright colours, even white. Those colours signify that their bond with the deceased is not as strong as closer family members. Traditionally, even if a particular friend or son-in-law was extremely close with the deceased, he still wears bright colours.

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