An Expat Guide: On Death in Taiwan

Dominic and I returned home safe and sound from the U.S. a couple of days ago. Tired, yet wired from all the caffeine and excitement of being back, we stepped out of the taxi, unloaded our luggage, and walked into our apartment building.

Upon arrival, we sadly found out that one of our security men, Jamie (the sweet, little old man we affectionately call Ricky Forrester) was in a scooter accident with his wife while we were away, and she didn’t make it. As he began to tell us, his eyes welled up with tears, and our hearts broke for our friend.

Seeing as we wanted to pay our respects, yet were unsure of the traditional way to do so in Taiwan, I asked my boss for advice.

How to Pay Your Respects When Someone Dies in Taiwan:

When someone you know dies in Taiwan, it is custom to give money in a white envelope to your friend who is grieving. The number of the money should start with an odd number like NT$1,100 or NT$1,300 because the odd number signifies that bad things won’t be double. The amount of money one gives depends on how strong your relationship is, and it is not custom, however, to give money after the funeral procession takes place. In this case, one just says they are sorry.

But seeing as Dom and I were away while the funeral took place, we have decided to break tradition and give Ricky Forrester a white envelope anyways.

Do you have any other information regarding the custom concerning death in Taiwan? Is it extremely taboo to give a white envelope after the funeral?


  1. I don’t know much about the typical protocol of what to do. I just know it was pretty horrifying a few months back when one of our coworkers died. He was an American. He was only 22 years old. We all had this gut feeling that the company stance would be to just pretend like it didn’t even happen. Sure enough, not a word was never mentioned of any official statement. It is hard to say if they were just unsure of what to do themselves. But, it still obviously lead many of us to speculate that they just don’t give a shit.

  2. sorry to hear about your sad news 😦 welcome back to KH x


  1. […] are the opposite to red envelopes and only contain the numbers 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9.  According to An Expat Guide: On Death in Taiwan by healthiernotions, “…the odd number signifies that bad things won’t double.”  The amount […]

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