*Lokasundari Vijaya Sankar, David Hock Jin Neo & Antoon De Rycker
The Peranakan community is studied in a qualitative manner to understand and document the customs and traditions that underlie the Peranakan funeral. This research was informed and guided by Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979a), which explores the meanings associated with being members of a social group. Social identity theorists have argued that because people define themselves in terms of their social group membership, they enact roles as part of their acceptance of the normative expectations of in group members. This shapes how communities come to understand and enact roles which make them part of a social group. Interviews were conducted with senior members of the Peranakan community and undertakers to aid in fulfilling the objective of the study. In addition, observations of funerals greatly enhanced the study. Findings from the analysis of funeral customs show that the Social Identity of the Peranakan community is seen in the observance of filial piety of children to their parents, patriarchal customs, a show of grief and adherence to Chinese religious customs. Status and wealth is also part of the community’s social identity.
Keywords: Social Identity Theory; Peranakan funeral, filial piety; Babas and Nyonyas