Chapter four : Transmigration

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Chapter four : Transmigration

The Reincarnation inspired by the funeral and spiritual reincarnation after mother’s death. In Taiwanese culture, Burning King Boat Ceremony is used as a religious sacrifice. In Egypt, there was Khufu ship to help the king cross the river Styx. In European history, there has Ship Burials The boat became a symbol of helping the dead to cross the disaster, a transition from the human world to the underworld. During the Eastern funeral, through burning joss paper money, paper houses and personal items as a sacrifice, suitcases all over the island became the mother’s journey in this life. With the cremation ceremony, everything will continue to the afterlife. After a Chinese funeral, the family usually gather in a round table, symbolizing the completeness of the funeral process and celebrating the completion of a person’s mission.

Fire / Afterlife

In the historical context of the Eastern world, fire has encompassed numerous metaphorical and symbolic meanings assigned by humanity. In funeral culture, traditional customs like burning paper money, paper effigies, and servant figurines hold a deep-rooted history across various Asian cultures, with origins tracing back to ancient religious, philosophical, and supernatural beliefs. People firmly believe that souls continue to exist after death and require care and reverence. Through the act of burning as a bridge is established between the realms of the living and the deceased. It serves as an intangible continuation of memories and remembrance. The concept is that by burning these items, the rising smoke communicates with the afterlife. While no one can definitively verify the reality of this phenomenon, it’s worth considering that such a practice carries a profound sense of mourning for the departed.

SHIP BURIAL - Asian / China / Egypt / Europe / Demark / Sweden

“When life and death are perceived as consecutive processes, burial begins to take on a more ceremonial significance.”

Historical records mention such tombs in Sichuan, China, dating back to the Warring States period and early Western Han dynasty. In Southeast Asia, the Solomon Islands, and the Samoan archipelago, boat coffins were reserved for leaders and placed in the sea or near the coast to drift away upon their passing. The tradition of boat burials also existed among the Germanic peoples, especially the Norse during the Viking Age. In Denmark and Sweden, you can also find burial sites known as “stone ships,” where stones and pillars are arranged in the shape of a ship, with the deceased buried inside. Additionally, the Khufu Funeral Boat, also known as the Solar Boat, was discovered in the Giza pyramid complex in Cairo, Egypt. While interpretations may differ, the common theme is the acknowledgment of an afterlife where a river acts as a divide between the mortal realm and the underworld. Using a boat as a coffin serves as a means to ferry the souls of the departed across this river.

China - Sichuan, Chengdu

The Ba-Shu people, due to their proximity to water, chose to be buried in boat-shaped coffins after death. They hoped that the spirits of the deceased could journey across the spiritual river using these boat-like coffins. In ancient times, the Ba people resided in the rugged mountains and hills, which led many of them to place boat coffins on cliffs. On the other hand, the Shu people lived in the vast plains of Chengdu, prompting them to bury boat coffins deep in the earth.

Northern Europe - Vikings

Viking boat burials involved placing the deceased along with grave goods inside a boat-shaped structure, which was then either buried or set ablaze. The size of the boat-shaped structures used in these burials varied, depending on the individual’s social status and wealth. A wide array of tools and items were included in these burials. An iconic archaeological discovery of such a burial is the famous 7th-century Sutton Hoo ship burial.

The archipelago of the Philippines

Archaeologists have conducted studies on burial sites located in six areas, including the Batanes Islands. The boat-shaped outlines are intentionally arranged using limestone or smooth andesite pebbles to mimic the shape of the local Ivatan boats, known as “tataya.” It is believed that this shape can transport the soul to the afterlife. The remains are positioned in a flexed or fetal position at the relative center of the boat-shaped marker or buried within a large pottery jar in the center of the grave.

Burning-Boat Festival in Taiwan

The “burning king boat” ceremony is popular in the southwestern coast of Taiwan, and has always been one of the most famous and important temple fairs in Taiwan. The original intention of burning the king boat was to send the plague out of the country, but now it has evolved into an activity of praying for peace and blessings, but it still has a strong color of the plague god, which makes the “Wang Ship Festival” still shrouded in a mysterious and serious atmosphere.