Thursday, October 05, 2006

Forget Gay Marriage; Afterlife Marriages Are All the Rage

This was a bizarre story in today's New York Times about a custom in a remote area of China in which families offer up tokens to ancestors who might need a little helping hand in the afterlife, such as money. Some are extending the concept to include a post mortem marriage. in the parched canyons along the Yellow River known as the Loess Plateau, some parents with dead bachelor sons will go a step further. To ensure a son’s contentment in the afterlife, some grieving parents will search for a dead woman to be his bride and, once a corpse is obtained, bury the pair together as a married couple.

The rural folk custom, startling to Western sensibilities, is known as minghun, or afterlife marriage. Scholars who have studied it say it is rooted in the Chinese form of ancestor worship, which holds that people continue to exist after death and that the living are obligated to tend to their wants — or risk the consequences. Traditional Chinese beliefs also hold that an unmarried life is incomplete, which is why some parents worry that an unmarried dead son may be an unhappy one.
Pity the gay & lesbian ancestors who are getting stuck in an unwanted heterosexual port mortem marriage. It gets worse:

“For girls, it doesn’t matter about their minds, whether they are an idiot or not. They are still wanted as brides.”

“There are girls who have drowned in the river down there. When their bodies have washed up, their families could get a couple of thousand yuan for them.”


Crossposted at B3

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