- Language Tips
Too busy to mourn your dead ancestors this Tomb Sweeping Day, or wanting an extra chorus of crying or wailing at the graveside?
A group of lively entrepreneurs have decided to cash in on people's hectic schedule this Qingming Festival by offering to mourn on your behalf for less than one hour for 3,000 yuan ($475) a time, enorth.com.cn reported Thursday.
An advertisement posted on a wall in Tianjin offers to carry out sacrificial offerings, burn joss sticks and even cry on your behalf at the graveside of your relatives for the rate for 30 to 45 minutes.
This is just one of a number of agencies that have sprung to life in recent years offering to honor the dead on behalf of strangers.
When contacted by a reporter, the advertiser surnamed Li confirmed the normal charge is 3,000 yuan, but added the service is not just for those who are too busy to honor their ancestors.
"Not all people need our service because they are too busy. Some need us to add to face. You see, if a crowd of people cry for the deceased, you'll feel proud," said Li.
The advertisement on a wall in Tianjin. [Photo/enorth.com.cn]
Similar businesses have also been reported appearing in Nanchang, Jiangxi province.
In 2011, services were also provided in areas including Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang, according to Xinhua.
The business has sparked a debate among people shocked at the morality of the issues involved.
"The essence of tomb sweeping is mourning and recalling for the deceased, paying someone to do that is disrespectful for the deceased and a distortion of the tradition," said a resident surnamed Huang in Nanchang.
"Some people can not sweep tombs for the deceased for all kinds of reasons. It's understandable if they ask someone else to do that as a way to make up," said another female resident surnamed Zou.