Chinese Customs

My father passed away in March this year, in Scotland. Later this month, his ashes will be scattered in the waters off Sai Kung, as Hong Kong was his home for over 40 years.

I am arranging a small gathering of friends and business associates, and various people my father worked with have indicated they will be part of the day.

A few of these are fairly traditional local gentlemen and I wanted to make sure I do it right for them too. It's my understanding that white packets (my dad was less than 80 so this is the norm?) containing candy, tissues and some money are traditionally given out at funerals? While this isn't technically a funeral, it's our final farewell to a great man.

Can anyone advise me if this is correct or put me on the right track? I've only been to about 3 funerals here and that is what I recall getting.

Many thanks.

Chinese Custom

It's commonly done that the family would give "Gut Yee" (similar to what you described) to people who attend the funeral. Gut Yee (a white envelope with chinese characters Gut Yee printed on it) is usually given out by the funeral home to the family. However, you might be able to buy them at the local shops selling incense, paper clothes, paper TV etc. If you can't get them, plain white enveople would also do the job. You need to put in candy, piece of white tissue or white cloth and a one dollar coin inside the Gut Yee. Gut Yee is only given out at the funeral. If you forgot to give one to the attendee during the gatherine, don't try to do it later.

In terms of greeting people who come to the funeral, you can say "yau sum" (straight translation is "have heart") to thank them for the care.