October 23, 2015
Sibu Tales : Juo Buo (Blacu)
Blacu or Jua Buo is a rough cotton material which the Foochows use for funerals.
The blacu TODY is cut into 2 yards for waist bands, and for handling of the coffin (casket) by the pall bearers. All immediate family members would tie a piece of blacu on their waist. The ladies would cover their head with another piece of this cloth.
In the past, the wearing of blacu was more elaborate. For example in the 1960's the children would wear mourning clothes made from blacu for 100 days, at least. It was very heart breaking to see mourners wearing these badly made mourning clothes.
In fact some families even engage a special tailor to make all the mourning clothes for three days before the funeral.
There would be a lot of wailing and moaning when the funeral clothes were put on.
As part of the funeral rites and rituals, relatives would be given one piece of blacu cloth to take home, after they had given a token of money, called White Gold.
Families who were well related i.e. with big families and therefore having more funerals to attend, would collect a lot of these blacu materials.
As a result, the frugal mother would make blacu pajama trousers for the children to wear.
After my father's funeral, my aunt made several pairs for us and we actually wore them for many many years as the material is very lasting.
Any left over material would be made into bags, pillow cases, and even the backing for quilts.
This is because the material is long lasting or in Foochow it is very tahan.