The public performance of funeral rituals in San Francisco Chinatown is a viewing lens through which the cultural identity of this famous ethnic community and tourist attraction is exposed. While the varied range of mortuary performances reveals the heterogeneous composition of a multiethnic Chinese place, the majority of funerals are of a standard ritual type that identifies the self-image of Chinatown as being modernized, urban Chinese. Modified and formulated in the U.S. context, the Chinatown funeral is a hybrid composite of traditional Chinese and Western cultural and religious elements. Crafted and constituted by Chinatown, these syncretic, Americanized funerals are American Chinese cultural expressions of a localized Chinatown culture.

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