丧礼- Chinese philosophy and culture

sānglǐ 丧礼

Mourning Rites

送葬、哀悼死者之礼,是人伦生活中的一项重要礼仪。古代“丧礼”依据逝者与行礼之人的关系,对丧期、服饰以及具体的行礼仪节都做出了详细规定。人们通过“丧礼”表达对逝者的哀痛与缅怀。同时,“丧礼”也对人情的表达做出节制,以避免哀痛过度而毁伤身体。此外,“丧礼”对行礼之人的身份及其相应仪节的区分,体现着古人对人伦关系的理解与规范。在当代社会,由于生活方式的改变,“丧礼”的形式及其所体现的人伦关系都发生了不同程度的变化。

To hold a funeral and mourn one who has passed away is an important ritual in the lives of the Chinese. In ancient China, there were detailed rules for such rites, based on the relations between the mourner and the deceased, such as the length of mourning, dress code, and the specific procedures to pay last respects to the deceased. By observing such rites, people expressed their grief over and love for the deceased. At the same time, mourning rites also served to control mourners’ excessive grief, so as not to affect their health. Rites for mourners differed according to their relations with the deceased and represented the ancient people’s understanding of the norms governing human relations. Today, both the form of mourning and the human relations reflected in such rites have changed along with changes in social customs.

引例 Citations:

◎林放问礼之本。子曰:“大哉问!礼,与其奢也,宁俭;丧,与其易也,宁戚。”(《论语·八佾》)

(林放请教礼的根本。孔子说:“你问的是个重大的问题!礼,与其奢侈操办,宁可节俭而行。丧礼,与其仪节周备,宁可哀戚过度。”)

Lin Fang asked Confucius about the essential meaning of ritual ceremonies. Confucius replied, “What you ask is a big question. For rites, it is always desirable to be simple rather than excessive. In the case of mourning, such rites should be determined by degree of grief rather than by overconsideration of rituals.” (The Analects)

◎三年之丧,何也?曰:称情而立文,因以饰群,别亲疏贵贱之节,而弗可损益也。(《礼记·三年问》)

(三年之丧是根据什么而定的呢?回答道:依据人的哀戚之情而订立的礼仪,由此来规范人伦的秩序,区别人与人之间亲疏贵贱的关系,是不可以随便减损或增益的。)

Why should the mourning period for one’s parents last for three years? The answer is that it is based on the degree of the mourner’s grief. Such a rule, which determines the order of human relations and differentiates the closeness between people and their social positions, should not be altered by cutting it short or extending it longer at will. (The Book of Rites)

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