JiaJia's Grandmother died earlier this week and I was invited to attend the day of funeral ceremonies with her. We started in the morgue and, after preparing the body, travelled with it to the crematorium. After performing various traditional rituals we transported the ashes to a cemetary for storage until a more auspicious month, when they will be formally buried. It was a curious day for me, witnessing a complex and fascinating series of rites and rituals, whilst very aware that this was no fun "cultural outing" - people were upset and everything had to be done with solemnity and dignity. I've been to a few funerals in the countryside - noisy and chaotic affairs - but this one was more ordered and ritualised, and a cremation instead of a burial. So it was something of a privilege to be involved and I was glad to hear my attendance had been in some way helpful. But a tough day for all concerned.
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