Can You Go to a Funeral on Your Birthday? The Full Answer


Different superstitions and beliefs can be difficult to keep track of sometimes, especially when it comes to funerals. Most of us don’t attend that many funerals. So, when something coincides with that day, it can be difficult to figure out which superstitions to follow and which to leave behind. 

You can go to a funeral on your birthday. In fact, it’s encouraged if you were close to the deceased. While there may be old superstitions about attending a funeral on your birthday, it’s encouraged as a healthy way to say goodbye to someone you care about. 

Let’s go into more details about attending a funeral on your birthday and why this superstition should be overlooked in favor of mourning and respecting the deceased. We’ll even take a look at how this superstition gained traction in the first place. Keep reading to find out more.

Why Should You Go to a Funeral Even if It’s Your Birthday?

You should go to a funeral on your birthday to say your final goodbyes and support your loved ones during a difficult time. Remember: if you choose to skip a funeral because it takes place on your birthday, you can’t undo that. When a loved one dies, you don’t get a second chance at their funeral.

There are many reasons to attend the funeral of someone you care about. Whether it happens to fall on your birthday should be a secondary thought to whether or not you should attend. Let’s talk about why you should attend the funeral of someone you love, even if it falls on your birthday. 

Say a Final Goodbye

A funeral is a place where people often say their final goodbyes to the deceased. This is an important part of the grieving process, though it’s important to note that this doesn’t have to happen at a funeral. Sometimes this is done even before death or at the gravesite later on.

However, it’s something that often happens at funerals. So, it’s worth mentioning as a reason to attend. Maybe you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye before your loved one passed away, or visiting their gravesite wouldn’t be enough for a final goodbye. Either way, it’s valid to want to attend a funeral to say goodbye to someone special. 

Funerals Create Positive Memories

A common concern of attending a funeral on a birthday is associated with negative feelings. Luckily, funerals tend to create positive memories when looked back on, according to a death study about grief. This means that, for the most part, people look back on funerals as a positive rather than a negative experience. 

So, the concern of something negative affecting your birthday every year moving forward should be minimal. As the study above shows, people tend to leave funerals with the impression of positive thoughts even if saying goodbye is difficult. 

Can’t Go Back

One of the toughest parts of deciding to attend a funeral or any one-time event is that we can’t go back and make a different choice. So, it may seem like something you want to avoid on your birthday, but remember that you can’t go back and change your mind later. 

Sometimes it’s better to attend to something we are questioning rather than regret our decision in the future. You can make this same argument for funerals as there won’t be a second chance to attend. So, make sure you consider any future regret before making this decision. 

For Others

Even if you don’t want to go to say goodbye and give yourself closure, you may want to be there for grieving family members. Sometimes it’s best to be there to give love and support to those closest to the deceased or those most affected by the death. 

Let’s face it, some of us rely on our friends and family members to get us through tough times. Whether it’s a close family member or a mourning friend, you may want to consider being there for them during this difficult time. Make sure to consider what your absence will mean to those who are grieving. 

Honor the Deceased

Going to a funeral is a sign of respect for the deceased, and that shouldn’t go away because it’s your birthday. They may be gone, but honoring their memory can help you and others remember them fondly. 

You can also honor the deceased by being at the funeral and sharing their memories with others. Whether that’s in the form of a speech or just sitting around with family and friends sharing your favorite stories, this is an important time for everyone. So, make sure you consider the things you’ll miss out on if you choose not to attend. 

A pastor or minister reads from the Bible during a funeral burial memorial service at a cemetery.

Where Did the Idea of Not Attending a Funeral on Your Birthday Come From?

The idea of not attending a funeral on your birthday came from the Asian, specifically Chinese, culture. It’s believed by some that the spirit of the deceased roams the earth on the day of their funeral, and you can be more susceptible to negative energy. 

While there are many different traditions for funerals in Chinese culture, who should and shouldn’t attend really stands out. There are many aspects to cultures that still focus on superstitions, and superstitions with the deceased are a big part of Chinese culture. So, let’s talk more about them. 

Birthdays and Funerals

Birthdays should be happy days when you become a living soul. This is why almost every culture celebrates birthdays. Just like most things worth celebrating, birthdays come with some superstitions, and Chinese culture follows many superstitions. 

Birthdays and funerals just don’t mesh with what Chinese culture believes. It can be bad luck to attend a funeral on your birthday because they believe that the deceased’s spirit roams the earth on the day of their funeral. So, attending a funeral during a time of celebration is said to be a bad omen. 

Other Celebrations

This goes beyond just birthdays. It’s actually considered bad luck to attend a funeral if you’re engaged or pregnant. Chinese culture believes that this can invite bad luck into your future marriage or your pregnancy. So, you’ll rarely see pregnant or engaged people at a funeral, according to Chinese beliefs. 

The bad luck from attending a funeral while pregnant is said to follow the mother of the child and the baby as well. So, that’s why it’s so often avoided in certain cultures, as bad luck starting so young may be difficult to get rid of since salts aren’t an option yet. (There’s more information on the use of salts to rid bad luck in the section below.)

How To Avoid It

Since this is a common belief in their culture, Chinese families will often plan funerals around the birthdays of loved ones, so they don’t have to miss them. If they’re unable to plan around a birthday for whatever reason, then that family member will be assumed to not attend. 

However, sometimes if the family can’t change the date of the funeral, a loved one may need to attend to say goodbye even on their birthday. If so, then there are things that individuals can do to protect themselves from any negative energy they may receive. 

Thankfully, there are a few different ways to get rid of bad luck and negative energy, according to Chinese superstitions. The most common ways are to use salt as this brings good luck and positivity. So, you’ll often see that used as a way to counteract any negative energy that comes from attending a funeral on your birthday. 

What Are Some Other Funeral Superstitions?

Other funeral superstitions involve such things as looking at a dead body, yawning, rain, and even the healing powers of the deceased. While not everyone follows these superstitions today, in the past, people took them very seriously.

We already went over some of the funeral superstitions regarding birthdays, engagements, and pregnancies, but let’s talk about some different funeral superstitions that you may not know about. 

Looking at the Deceased

In African and Asian cultures, it’s common for people to be told not to look at the deceased as this can bring bad luck. This is especially true if the deceased were to look back at you, as superstitions say that’ll bring you bad luck as well. This is also true for pregnant women, as looking at the deceased is said to bring back luck to the mother and the child. 

This belief stems from different cultures, but it partially comes from the idea that our eyes are windows to our souls. According to some beliefs, looking at the deceased can be a bad omen because eyes can make you vulnerable and more susceptible to bad energy. 

Cover Your Yawn

Even today, it’s polite to cover your mouth when you yawn. There’s debate on exactly how this tradition started, with some believing that it was to cover bad breath. While this did help some people with halitosis, covering your mouth when you yawn started elsewhere. 

During the Victorian Era, many people believed that yawning would allow spirits to enter your body. People during this era especially believed this to be true at funerals as the deceased had so recently passed. So, many people began covering their mouths when they yawned at funerals, especially. 

This tradition went beyond just funerals and being near recently deceased. It’s now widely known that covering your mouth when you yawn is a polite thing to do. Whether we do it to cover bad breath, to protect ourselves from spirits, or just to be polite, it’s still fairly common today. 

Rain During a Funeral

Rain can signify many different things when it comes to life and death. Many in the Victorian Era believed that rain signified a recent death. However, rain during a funeral is a different omen altogether. 

Rain during a funeral in the Victorian Age signified good luck. It was believed by many during that time that rain meant that the deceased’s soul was able to make the journey to heaven. So, rain certainly isn’t always a bad thing, but the belief in rain and death go even beyond the funeral. 

Old superstitions had many believing that rain in the days following a funeral was a good omen. This rain was said to wash away grief at the loss of a loved one and allow for a new beginning. Overall, it’s said to be a good omen for the rain to come during a funeral or after to help with the grieving process. 

However, some cultures believe rainy days aren’t ideal for funerals as sunlight signifies a warm welcome into heaven for the deceased. African American culture is one example of those who follow this tradition. People in this culture are normally very careful when planning a funeral and check the weather forecast far in advance. 

Healing Powers of the Deceased

Contrary to some other cultures above, some people once believed, in America, that being near a dead body could heal the living. So, people with diseases or even small ailments would stand near a deceased loved one during the funeral hoping to be healed by them. 

This is a clear example of the many different types of superstitions surrounding death, as many consider being near dead bodies bad luck. In contrast, some consider it to be a healing experience. So, it’s sometimes best to consider these superstitions but realize that other beliefs often contradict them. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s safe to go to a funeral on your birthday. Though some cultures believe that it’s a bad omen, many people agree that you shouldn’t miss a funeral. So, consider all the reasons you should go to the funeral of a loved one on your birthday before you decide to miss it. 

Remember, a funeral is a final chance to say goodbye, and you won’t get another chance to attend if you change your mind later. So, it’s best to think carefully whether you want to miss it or not. 

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Alex Noel

Hi there! I'm Alex Noel and live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I started this website to share my experience. My goal is to provide Americans a more fulfilling goodbye.

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