We had a chicken funeral once, which was most memorable because my little brother almost burned out my eye with a stick of incense. 

Our dad was trying to teach us a Chinese tradition that he had learned as a kid: At a funeral you light incense, hold it between prayer hands, and bow 3 times toward the grave. My little brother always did everything full-out, with big energy, and his funeral bows were no exception: He would bend low and snap back up rapidly. On his final bow, he was supposed to pass the incense to me, but as he snapped up from the bow, he wasn’t looking where his hand was going, and he shoved the incense stick straight into my eye. My eye turned out to be fine, but it turned a peaceful chicken funeral into a fiasco of an almost-burned-out eye and crying.

We laugh about it now!

  • Anna Y., Medical Student, USA