When a loved one passes away, planning the funeral service is never easy. For most, thinking of a columbarium in Singapore is one of the most common ways to store deceased remains in this land-scarce nation. Whether you choose a Nirvana columbarium, Choa Chu Kang columbarium (which has reopened), or Lim Chu Kang Columbarium, it’s a choice between a private columbarium or a government-managed columbarium. Knowing how to choose a columbarium can help can smoothen your journey when planning a funeral in Singapore or choosing the right funeral services. If you have already chosen a columbarium, planning a memorial service, prayer services or Qing Ming Prayer Ceremony can help to commemorate ancestors and deceased loved ones. Here are 5 key tips when choosing a columbarium.
1. Funeral service packages do not include the niche, urn, and ancestral pedestalWhen choosing your funeral service, do note that funeral service packages do not include the niche, urn, and ancestral pedestal. Separate services are provided for these needs and they cover different aspects from funeral service packages.
2. Handle your loved ones’ cremated ashes with respectFor many, handling the remains of a loved one will result in two options — burial or cremation. While the thought of spreading the ashes out at sea may be idealistic but should be considered carefully as the family will not be able to gather the ashes to store them or for any remembrance. Choosing inurnment of the urn and ashes at a columbarium can help future family members to remember and commemorate the life of previous generations.
3. Choose an appropriate level nicheFor those who are facing the death of a relative for the first time, many customs and rituals are unknown or obscure that would need guidance. When looking at the price of a niche in a private columbarium, the prices would often differ according to levels, but do you actually know the reason why? In modern columbariums like our Nirvana Memorial Garden’s columbariums, each suite would have eight or nine levels or niches. Each level has different meanings which do matter to certain religions or those who have certain preferences.
- The 1st and 2nd levels are known as the ‘filial’ levels where the children and grandchildren have to kneel to worship.
- The 3rd and 4th levels are known as the ‘wealth’ levels and suit those who sit and pray for their ancestors.
- The 5th level is the most popular and tends to be the most expensive due to it being at eye level. This level is most convenient for all generations of the family to pray to and for as family members do not have to kneel, squat, or look up to the niche.
- The 6th and 7th levels are known as ‘guards’ and signify that ancestors are looking out for their family and future generations.
- The last 2 levels, 8 and 9 symbolise the ‘respect’ levels and signify that those inurned there have shown high morality.
4. Choose the right style for the columbariumWhen it comes to private columbariums, government-managed columbariums, Lim Chu Kang columbarium or Choa Chu Kang Columbarium, choosing between columbariums with religious settings and figures or a clean, modern design can play a part in putting the family at ease. Various private columbariums can have styling and decor which can put many at ease. Some of the various columbariums can have:
- Buddha Statue surrounded by a small bamboo forest with streams of water flowing in the background.
- The main hall housing the Holy Trinity of the Samsara World — Amitabha Buddha (阿弥陀佛), Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (观世音菩萨) and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva (地藏王菩萨).
- Clean, modern and standard columbarium with no religious figures or furnishings.