Ancestral tablets: What to know and how to get one in Singapore

Ancestral tablets: What to know and how to get one in Singapore

Previously in Funeral Insider, we explored the various aspects of choosing a columbarium niche to safekeep the urn of a loved one. This time, we’re going to look into another way to venerate the departed—ancestral tablets.

A modern-day ancestral tablet.

A modern-day ancestral tablet.

What are ancestral tablets

Ancestral tablets have existed in Chinese religious customs for centuries. While our earthly remnants are left in the form of cremated ashes or skeletal remains, Buddhists and Taoists believe that the spirit and memories of the departed are enshrined in ancestral tablets. For this reason, some families still choose to have an ancestral tablet for their loved ones even though they can pay respects to their loved ones at the columbarium or graveside.

Typically small in size and made from wood, crystal or stone, ancestral tablets can be kept at home on an altar, or in a columbarium or temple. Where you decide to keep the ancestral tablet depends on a couple of factors:

  • Space: Is there sufficient space in your home for the installation or placement of an altar?
  • Time: Is there someone at home who is willing to clean and maintain the ancestral altar?
  • Cost: An ancestral tablet usually costs a few hundred dollars. It will take another few thousand dollars to place one in a temple or columbarium.

After you have decided on the placement location, you’ll then need to engage a Buddhist monk or a Taoist priest to “invite” your loved one’s spirit into the ancestral tablet.

The purpose and importance of ancestral tablets

The key purpose of ancestral tablets is for people to show their filial piety and respect for a deceased elder. For some families, ancestral tablets also signify the continuation of their bloodline. Furthermore, it’s a traditional Chinese belief that ancestral tablets protect descendants from danger and harm.

How to acquire ancestral tablets in Singapore

There are a few places where you can get an ancestral tablet from:

  • Columbaria or temples
  • Altar supplies stores
  • Fengshui master

Here at Direct, we work with a trusted ancestral tablet supplier to provide families with comprehensive funeral services. If you require assistance with the purchasing or placement of ancestral tablets, please email us at and we’ll be most ready to help.