Vietnamese Funeral Traditions | Thomas Miller Mortuary & Crematory | Corona, CA | Riverside, CA

Our Thomas Miller Mortuary & Crematory staff considers it an honor to help families pay tribute to their loved ones after they die. In an area as diverse as Corona and Riverside, we meet with families from many cultures and faith traditions and have deep knowledge of a variety of ethnicities and spiritual backgrounds.

When it comes to funerals, our Vietnamese friends and neighbors have age-old practices and routines they hold dear. Because of their many ethnic groups, there are differences among Vietnamese customs. However, most of the Vietnamese people share similar funeral and burial practices.

Many Vietnamese people believe the souls of their loved ones live on after death and that having a funeral is an important step toward entering the afterlife. If the proper actions aren’t taken, it is believed that the person’s ghost will remain on earth and possibly even cause harm to the family.

Traditional Vietnamese funerals are multi-day events and involve several elaborate rituals. Families create an altar featuring offerings and a portrait of the deceased. They often keep their loved one at home after their death for anywhere ranging from three days to a month. Family members dress their loved one in traditional white clothing, place rice and three coins in their mouth, and position a chopstick between their teeth. A small knife is set on their stomach to protect them from spirits.

During this time, family and friends visit to pay their respects and bring incense, white flowers, money, and food. Family members wear white during this time as a way to earn favor on behalf of their loved one. Those outside the family who are grieving are expected to wear black.

At the end of the mourning period, the loved one is placed in a coffin and taken to their final resting place. The family will lead a procession, often at sunrise, to the gravesite featuring a marching band. If their loved one lived a full life and died at home surrounded by family, the music reflects a happier tone. However, if the death was premature or under unfortunate circumstances, the band will take a more somber tone.

Today, Vietnamese funerals are just as meaningful but are simpler occasions. Family members assemble around their loved one and dress them in traditional clothing. The wake lasts days instead of weeks and includes a less elaborate procession to the cemetery. Families may hire funeral services to arrange entertainment, reflecting their belief that death is to be celebrated as a new beginning in a better world. They also host annual celebrations on the anniversary of the death to honor and remember their loved one.

Whether your family is at a time of need or if you wish to preplan arrangements to get your wishes and preferences in writing, remember you can always turn to us. Our professional staff is here for you day and night, ready to serve you with knowledge and expertise.

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