Many (if not most) Taiwanese believe that it is best to die at home. If someone does not die at home it is believed that their souls may roam the earth restlessly, haunting people.
It is also believed that each person has three spirits and seven souls. Every seven days a soul leaves. Thus, traditionally the mourning period used to be 49 days. This gives each soul a chance to escape from the earthly body. At the burial, when the body is cremated, loved ones will cry and scream and plead for the spirits and souls to please, please leave the body before it is burned.
Spirit money and clothing will be burned as a gift for the
deceased and food given as an offering so that the loved one will not starve or go without in the
But, if there is no body and/or the body is not at home, when the souls leave the body the souls will wander, becoming ghosts.This weekend was the "first 7th day" since the big typhoon washed away homes and lives. Therefour, it is believed that souls are beginning to roam, and people who've lost loved ones are pleading with them to go home.
Here is a CNN video that explains:
This is only more troublesome because Ghost Month is upon us. Ghost month is the seventh lunar calender month when it is believed that the gates of hell open and all the lost souls have one month to roam the earth and be fed (since they did not die at home and were not able to be given a proper burial, there is no one to worship them, so it is believed that they go hungry in the afterlife).
All I can say is please pray.
Pray for the Lord's mercy on the Taiwanese. Oh, how they need to be set free by Truth Himself. Pray that as believers we never forget the reality of lostness and never lose a sense of urgency to proclaim truth every chance we have. Oh, Father, let us not become lazy and complacent.
If time allows me, I plan to discuss further Taiwanese funeral traditions and Ghost Month in the coming week or two. Anything specific you want to know?
PS: I feel for the child in the video who is being lied to by the others about the whereabouts of his parents. I know they believe they are doing what is best for him, but in my mind it can only be making matters worse for him.