How in China death rituals like ghost marriage are celebrated

In China ten million Chinese die every year. Death rituals are often seen in China and different than we know it. Once you are dead in China, you are treated with the utmost respect. How do people in China deal with death and what is a ghost marriage? When somebody died in China, one of the death rituals let the family gather around the grave every year and bring them a lot of gifts. What is the reason for this death ritual? Why do Chinese people care so much about the dead people?

In the past 30 years, life for people in China has changed drastically. The third world country has become one of the world leaders and still, most of us don´t know a lot about China and their population. Where is this gigantic country headed? And what do ordinary Chinese appreciate or value?

In the third episode Ruben Terlou has arrived in the provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi and discovers how Chinese people deal with death. During the annual Qingming Festival, all Chinese people make a sacrifice to the grave of their deceased ancestors. Everything they give to the deceased in the hereafter is burnt at the grave: from paper refrigerators to Lamborghinis and iPhones. And a Chinese rural burial also leads to amazing scenes.

Ruben Terlou investigate with his camera and goes in search of the backgrounds of the phenomenon ‘ghost marriage’ – in which corpses are married to each other.

Original title: Een koelkast voor het hiernamaals (3/7)
Maaik Krijgsman
© VPRO January 2018

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