China / Hot Issues

Mourners for rent on Taobao for Qingming Festival

( Updated: 2014-04-01 10:44

With China's Qingming Festival approaching, some stores on the country's biggest online market Taobao have begun offering to send "professionals" to weep at graves on tomb-sweeping day, the Beijing Times reported on Monday.

Visiting graves during Qingming is a time-honored tradition in China, and not going is a sign of disrespect to the departed. That's why some people hire others to do it for them.

More than 20 online stores are offering tomb-sweeping packages, but little interest has been shown so far.

By paying 500 yuan ($80), customers can hire someone to kowtow, mourn, weep and clean the gravesite, as well as offer sacrifices and flowers for the deceased.

The owner of one such shop said professional mourners are required to bow three times and give eulogies to the deceased.

"Professional mourners should wear mourning suits," said the shop owner, adding that services like kowtowing and sobbing require extra fees.

The whole ceremony lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and is recorded on video.

Yu Jianrong, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said tomb worship should be an occasion to pay tribute to the departed. It's inappropriate for businesses to put a commercial face on the activity, he added.


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