Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Rent a wail

An article in today's Times claims that Chinese entrepreneurs are offering their cash-rich, time-poor compatriots an opportunity to escape the obligation of sweeping their ancestors' tombs at the Qingming festival. At Qingming, people return to their villages and for many workers on the coast, this can mean a long journey inland. They can avoid this, however, by paying £32 for a sombrely dressed mourner to stand in their place by the graveside and to weep for ten minutes. A video of the performance will be sent to the client. For £100 the stand-in will also cut the grass around the tomb, light candles, burn incense and read a eulogy. Additional services include burning a paper image of a servant to ensure the dead are waited upon in the afterlife, making a toast to the departed, kowtowing three times and bellowing a specified name into the air in an anguished cry of despair.


Anonymous kinglear said...

So .... a bit like saying masses for the soul of the departed??

7:29 am  
Blogger Whispering Walls said...

It depends whether the ancestors are specifically listening for their descendents... They may curse them if they realise they can't be bothered to go. Masses are better - the more intercessions the better.

9:51 am  
Anonymous kinglear said...

Ah yes, I can see an ancestor would be a bit peeved. " I'm Shinzo - your relative Mitsubishi couldn't make it...."

6:20 am  
Blogger janerowena said...

I wonder if I could persuade them to take my place at an in-law family Christmas? It sounds pretty similar to how they make me feel.

11:22 am  
Blogger Whispering Walls said...


11:45 am  
Anonymous kinglear said...

I think Christmas should be the one time of year when families are NOT allowed to get together. That only leaves Easter then......

2:55 pm  

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