Funeral Tradition: Removing Mirrors from the House


In Chinese culture, it is common for the deceased’s family to remove all mirrors from their house.


Informant: “When my grandfather passed away, our family remained in a state of mourning for literally months. One thing I distinctly remember was my mother covering all mirrors in our house including my bathroom one, with bedsheets for a few months, I was in 6th grade, so to me this was very different from when my friend’s grandparents all passed; to me it seemed like their families moved on pretty quickly! And it also made getting ready for school difficult”


In Chinese culture, it is common for the deceased to be taken to their familial house to rest after passing away. However, it is a sign of bad luck to view the casket of the deceased in a mirror. If viewed, the reflection will grant bad luck to whoever viewed the image and may result in an early death. The reason that the mirrors may have been covered for months on end is because it is also traditional to respect a 100 day mourning period in Chinese culture, given the deceased a chance to properly mourn their dead loved one and give them the chance to support them in their passing on to the afterlife. Considering how superstitious many birth and death traditions are in Chinese culture, both the ritual to cover the mirrors and mourn for months on end (really 100 days) makes sense.