This article aims to inform the reader of the essential items to expect from a funeral services package and avoid paying for unnecessary superstitious items or ‘hidden cost’ services!
Depending on the type of Religion (Buddhist Taoist, Christian, Catholic, or Free Thinker)
It is essential to note that different religious funerals and free-thinker will have different details and costs. The free-thinker funeral will be the least expensive, as simplicity is the primary purpose. The purpose is to gather friends and families to mourn for the deceased. Catholic and Christian funerals are relatively less expensive than the elaborated Buddhist and Taoist funerals.
Here are the standard items or services you will usually find in a funeral package
Standard Administration Procedures
The standard procedure includes assisting the bereaved family member in transporting the deceased body from the morgue to the embalmer’s office. Other than that, some funeral directors may go the extra mile in guiding the family member in booking the HDB void deck, funeral parlour, or registering the death certificate for the deceased.
Embalming, Cleansing, and Makeup Services
Embalming and cleansing services are often the most crucial part, which some funeral packages do not indicate. As there is a limited number of licensed embalmers in the country, it is essential to engage a funeral services provider with experienced embalmers.
To give the deceased the most dignified send-off, it is vital to make them look the best during the funeral. Experienced embalmers will ensure that proper embalming and cleansing processes are done professionally. Moreover, giving the deceased decent make-up.
Another critical thing to ask is whether the embalmer is a male or female embalmer. It is because most family members would prefer a female embalmer to do the job if the dearly departed is female.
Funeral at HDB Void Deck or Parlour
The funeral service package will also include the chairs, tables, and equipment rental for the HDB void deck and funeral parlour setup.
There are pros and cons of holding a funeral in an HDB void deck or funeral parlour. For an HDB void deck, convenience is a good reason people chose the venue. Moreover, some HDB void decks are spacious to hold bigger funeral events. The downside of the HDB void deck is security. Family members and close relatives will need to do vigil duties to guard the coffin as well as the donation box. For a deceased foreign individual with no close relatives or family members in Singapore, we may not recommend an HDB void deck.
As for the funeral parlour, security is guaranteed. The bereaved family members can lock the parlour after the last guest at the wake leaves. Moreover, the facilities and service staff are within reach. Funeral parlours are also fully air-conditioned, giving the bereaved family members and guests a comfortable and relaxed environment to pay their last respects.
The funeral package also includes providing casket services. The bereaved family members can choose the type of coffin they want for their dearly departed. They can also opt for higher-end quality coffins by topping up on the package.
Funeral Setup and Accessories
The package will also include the funeral setup and necessary items for the altar, coffins, and rituals. Depending on the type of religion, the setup will be different. For example, various kinds of Taoist funeral setups depend on the Chinese dialect groups (Hokkien, Teochew, Hainanese, Cantonese, and Hakka). Henceforth, doing a proper funeral setup will require a highly experienced team to do so. Without a good understanding and the significance of the ritual accessories, the funeral services provider cannot do a proper setup.
Some funeral packages will include catering as well. Some will exclude that item because customers may want to engage their preferred catering companies.
A good caterer will leave a good impression on the guests. Hence, it is okay to ask for the name of the catering company. And then check its reviews.
For Buddhist and Taoist funeral packages, funeral ceremonies and rituals are included. However, it is still essential to ask them for more details. Such as which temples the presiding priests are from and what their experiences are when it comes to funeral rituals.
The critical aspect of a good funeral service provider lies in its service staff. How sincere, professional, or dedicated the team will determine the overall pleasant experience of the funeral guests and the bereaved family members. Though some funeral services packages may include service staff, most of the time, the service staff is not around.
Hence, finding a funeral service company with a good service team will really depend on referrals and past experiences.
Funeral companies with experienced transportation teams will always ensure that everything is on time. It is crucial for the funeral procession as the appointment timing of the cremation service is fixed, and certain prayers need to be fulfilled at a specific time of the day.
An experienced transportation team will also prepare for ‘unexpected events, such as having an additional vehicle in case the primary hearse vehicle breaks down. Or the driver needs to take a less congested route to the crematorium.
Post-Funeral (Ash collection, Niche installation)
At Nirvana Singapore, we assist bereaved family members in collecting their dearly departed ash remains and correctly installing the niches in our columbarium.
Buddhists and Taoists believe the soul will leave the body after death. It will take them 49 days to reach rebirth or reincarnation.
Therefore, protecting the soul and guiding them on the journey to rebirth is vital. Most importantly, it is essential to send them prayers on the 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, 35th, 42nd, and 49th day after death.
At Nirvana Singapore, we have venerable priests who will conduct daily prayer rituals at the An-Ling temple.
Why should we consider Pre-planning?
Often during times of grief due to the sudden loss of a loved one, it is difficult to make a good decision when selecting a funeral package. Hence, Pre-planning of funeral packages is often recommended.
Pre-planning basically can help in three things.
Firstly, it reduces or removes the financial burden incurred by the bereaved family members.
Secondly, it gives the customer ample time to choose and select the most preferred funeral package.
Thirdly, it costs less relatively. It is because funeral service companies may want to offer the most valued price to compete with others who can offer similar quality services. Some funeral service providers will also provide interest-free instalments to help customers pay for the funeral easily.
However, it is imperative to buy from financially strong, credible, and highly reputable companies in terms of pre-planning. It is best to avoid companies with bad reputations.
In summary, by completing this article, you will know what to expect in a standard funeral service package, and can avoid spending on unnecessary superstitious items or ‘hidden cost’ services!