I don't quite get the significance of this but all the musicians who were playing European instruments during the funeral last week were women. I can see the novelty but I don't get the why.
I found an article which on Taiwanese Funeral Rites written by Scott Grandi (he signs his name with the middle initial - why do people do that?). I'm going to quote abit as the first part of the article sheds some light on what was a pretty bizarre experience.
"A special time in the life of a Taiwanese is the death of a family member. If one is to remain a respected member of society, one must act in a filial manner, and follow the le-so, the social conventions of Confucian society. These ancient traditions and customs are followed by Chinese around the world.
The funeral service is normally held in the home unless a large crowd is expected, in which case it is held in front of the home in a rented tent. (Some families are now using municipal funeral homes to hold the funeral service. The government is trying to encourage this). In the front and center of the room where the funeral is held, a platform of seven or more steps covered by a white cloth is arranged. At the top of this platform is a picture of the deceased and on the other steps are candles, incense, flowers, fruit, and a paper tablet with the name of the deceased written on it. Before this tiered platform are tables with cooked food such as duck, pork, chicken, or fish, along with wine and bowls of rice. All of these are offerings to the dead person.
When everyone has arrived for the service, a master of ceremonies greets the group and eulogizes the deceased. Following this, each person in the audience gets up to bow to the picture and then offer incense to the deceased. Some people recite a poem which expresses praise to the deceased. At the finish of the service, a member of the family will thank all present for their attendance. Afterwards the family may bow on the ground beside the coffin and burn incense.
Everyone then lines up in a prescribed order for the funeral procession to the grave site. People are hired to carry the coffin, and a band, sometimes several bands, both Western and Chinese style, are hired to accompany the procession. Singers, wailers and dancers may also be hired for the procession. Traditionally, this procession walked the entire way to the grave site. Today the procession normally walks for one or two blocks and then everyone boards buses hired to convey them to the grave site."
Scott is a missionary so the tone and point of view of the article needs to be understood from their perspective (he wrote so that we can "develop a strategy to relate").