Austin's Blog

 

Claire Finds Out More About Vietnamese burial rituals

February 29th, 2016    Author:

Last October, Austin’s managing director Claire Austin, travelled to Vietnam to work on a community project to help build a dam in Hanoi. While taking a break from mixing concrete and moving rocks she had a look around the local villages and came across some wooden coffins. When she asked about them, she was told that families handcraft their own coffins and store them under their house until they are needed.

In Vietnam, after someone has passed away the body is kept at the house for three days so people have time to say their final goodbyes. It’s common for gifts such as grains of rice or – for wealthier families – gold coins to be placed in the mouth of the deceased. The funeral ceremony involves a big feast and musicians playing traditional music. As for the burial, to avoid bad luck the body is laid to rest according to the position of the sun.

While chatting about the coffins, Claire was interested to learn that three years after burial, the body is exhumed so that the bones can be cleaned. This may be done by a special gravedigger, who digs up the bones and carefully washes them while relatives chant Buddhist prayers and burn incense. Once the bones have been cleaned they are placed in a small casket in an order that resembles the human skeleton then re-buried. The Vietnamese do this because they believe that by now the soul will have passed onto the next life, and so am empty coffin is no longer needed.

For Claire, it was a fascinating insight into how different cultures have their own customs and rituals to deal with the death of a loved one.

Vietnamese Coffins2Vietnamese Coffins

Austin’s charity donations continue

February 3rd, 2016    Author:
MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

MD Claire Austin hands over cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans

Since Austin’s Charitable Fund was set up in 2002, it has raised over £125,000 for community-based and local charities. This month, Austin’s managing director Claire Austin was delighted to hand over a cheque for £5,972.15 to North Herts Samaritans, the nominated charity for 2015.

Says Claire: We are delighted to have been able to help the SAMARITANS who provide an invaluable service by supporting people in our community.”

Other charities that have benefitted from Austin’s Charitable Foundation include Cancer Hair Care, Tracks Autism, The Living Room and Homestart. This year’s charity is Stevenage Haven www.stevenagehaven.org.uk which provides shelter and support for single homeless people.

Every year, a percentage of Austin’s profits goes towards a chosen charity. Austin’s are also able to donate money from their annual Christmas Carol Service at Harwood Park Crematorium as well as the sale of funeral service CDs. Money is also kindly raised through the generosity of bereaved families who donate to the charity in memory of a loved one.

Austin’s would like to thank everyone who has helped to raise money for their nominated charities over the years and look forward to continuing to raise money in 2016.

Pictured – Alan Chaney, Chair of Samaritans Friends, Claire Austin Managing Director of Austins Funeral Services, Leigh Grigson, Branch Director North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans, Janet Moss Deputy Director of Outreach at North Herts & Stevenage Samaritans.