mardi 17 avril 2012

China: The marriage of the ghosts.

Singles souls can they come back to haunt their families?

         In my native African Great Lakes, there was an old custom that I found totally stupid. When they were burying a dead old daughter without a husband, we always managed to slip into his grave a truncated fresh banana, saying "Here's your husband."
         And they carefully closed the grave with the consciousness of having married the sister or unmarried daughter. It was feared that the souls of the dead girls, particularly virgins without ever having the joy of the wedding and love do not come back to haunt the souls of their suitors or those who had rejected their love.
         When Catholic missionaries settled in the western region in the early twentieth century, they ended most customs associated with the afterlife. However, some families continued secretly to practice this custom that cost nothing and it was virtually undetectable in the eyes of allophones.

Minghun, weddings ghosts in China.

         In rural China, the festival called "Qingming, or Day of the Dead" that was ban after 60 years by the Communist Party has enjoyed renewed fantastic. Honor the souls of his ancestors and one of the first filial duties in China.
         The Day of the Dead is celebrated two weeks after the equinox. This is an opportunity to maintain the graves, but also the best time to celebrate "ghost marriages" and unfortunately the time the most lucrative for the looters of graves.
         The Minghun is a tradition for 3,000 years, which is particularly prevalent in northern China. "The family of a single death is seeking a" ghost spouse "to marry their loved one,"
says Huang Jichun, a researcher at Shanghai University.
         The bodies of two deceased were then buried together in a ceremony between marriage and burial. Ghosts no longer lonely, the family can reconnect with good fortune.

Mr. Liu, 18 years married Ms. Wu, 17.

          In February 2012, Guangping County, Hebei Province, the young Liu, aged 18, died of cardiac arrest was "married" Wu, who died of a brain tumor. Liu's family has paid  35,000 yuans (42,000 Euros) to buy (dot) Wu's remains, a considerable sum for a peasant family in Hebei province, where the average is around 5,000 yuan per person per year.
         The two young men who have never known in their lifetimes, have been (re) buried together and dumplings were scattered on their graves. Their honeymoon was short lived: the tomb was desecrated and the body of Wu resold to another marriage of ghosts in another province. Trade of girls' bodies is flourishing in the provinces are very poor.

I hope the thieves will be punished!

         "I hope the thieves are sentenced to death or at least twenty years in prison,"
said Liu's mother, standing on the threshold of his clay home. The trade of female bodies is flourishing in these poor rural areas.
         Bodies are generally provided by intermediaries and price of fresh corpses rose at least 25% over the last five years. It has now reached 50. 000 yuan. Last year, a Chinese newspaper has accused bosses of rich coal mines have raised the price of deceased wives until 130,000 yuan.
         In 2010, a network of grave robbers was dismantled in Hebei Province. Its members had desecrated dozens of graves in the region and earned hundreds of thousands of yuan of profit.

A consequence of unprecedented economic growth.

         The marriage of ghosts that would be "macabre" in the West is a controversial practice in China. At the time of  Mao Zedong, the custom was regarded as a superstition and strictly prohibited.
         For Mr. Huang, a researcher at the University of Shanghai, the revival of this tradition is partly due to the economic growth of China. Peasant families live better today and have the means to pay a high price for their deceased wife. Trade bodies now provides a steady supply of fresh bodies which merely fuels demand.

         The Liu family wishes to offer rest his ghost. After stopping four of five criminals, the police made of the remains to the family of Wu Liu, her deceased first husband. Wary of "feng shui" of the first grave, the family built a second concrete. In addition to the offerings of food, they also carefully planted a "baifan" a stick wrapped in white crape supposed to help the spouses on the way to heaven.

         But what about the dangerous and costly ceremonial turning of the dead "Famadihana" in the rugged mountains near the center Ambalavao southern Madagascar?
That's another story!

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