Chinese Funerary Customs in Idaho and the West

The Idaho Museum of Natural History is proud to host a free lecture by Terry Abraham on April 23, 2015 at 7:00 pm in the ISU College of Education Auditorium (Room #243).

Abraham lecture will explore the Chinese Funerary Customs in Idaho and the West.  At first, the Chinese in Idaho and the West usually buried their dead in exclusively Chinese cemeteries. Later, Chinese burials also took place in Christian cemeteries. Together, both types of cemeteries exhibit a variety of Chinese funerary customs and rituals, including fengshui, or grave placement; exhumation of remains for shipment to Chine; diverse grave makers in Chinese and /or English; and funerary structures, such as shrines and burners. Burning paper replicas of real objects sends them to the spirit world for use by the deceased in the afterlife, while burning “Hell money” transforms it into currency that the deceased can use to purchase needed item.


Abraham, a native of Oregon, has lived in Idaho since 1970. Now retired from the University of Idaho Library, he is the recipient of the Idaho State Historical Society’s Esto Perpetua award. Author of Mountains So Sublime: Nineteenth-Century British Travellers and the Lure of the Rocky Mountain West (2006), he is the editor of Chinese Servants in the West: Florence Baillie-Grohman’s “The Yellow and White Agony” (2007).