Death and Dying in Taiwan

1761 Words8 Pages
All cultures have their own views on the subject of death and dying, no one culture’s follows the same methods as another. A reason for this is religion; there are so many diverse religions in the world enabling distinct values and customs towards death. Taiwan is no exception to this; religion within the country is made up of a variety of different religious beliefs and practices, as a result of their multicultural history. Compared to countries with a large immigrant population, the majority of people living in Taiwan are either Aborigines or Han Chinese (Tan, 2003) Even with their small ethnical groups in the country, the number of different religions is overwhelming; there are 26 officially recognized religions within Taiwan ("Taiwan yearbook 2006," 2006). Taiwan has an estimated population of twenty-three million people living in an area approximately 13,000 square miles ("International religious freedom," 2006). Meaning that within a very small country there is a great deal of religious diversity. This paper will look at religion within Taiwan more specifically examining ancestor worship compared to Christianity, by looking at the different burial customs and belief system. There are no universal guidelines to address issues such as death. Cultures have formed their own meaning behind death and have produced rituals to normalize the process in order to create a social script around death. In an April 2006 survey conducted by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Religious Affairs Section reported that the majority religion of the country was Buddhism, which encompasses around one-third of the Taiwanese population at 35%. The second largest religious group within Taiwan are the Taoist, which make up another one-third of the popula... ... middle of paper ... members in taiwan. In K. Yoshimatsu & W. S. Tseng (Eds.), Asian family mental healthTokyo, JP: Psychiatric research institute of tokyo. Tan, C. K. (2003). Tradition and christianity: Controversial funerals and concepts of the person among the paiwan, taiwan. Oceania, 73(3), 189-207. US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. (2006). International religious freedom report 2006 Wolf, Arthur. (1974). “Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors.” In Arthur Wolf (ed.). Religion and Ritual in Chinese Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 131-182 Wolf, A. P. (1973). Aspects of ancestor worship in northern taiwan. In W. H. Newell (Ed.), Ancestors (World Anthropology) (9 ed.). Chicago, IL: De Gruyter. Yang, S. Y. (2011). Death, emotions, and social change among the austronesian-speaking bunan of taiwan. Southeast asian studies, 49(2), 214-239.
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