GHOST MARRIAGE: A NECROMANTIC TRADITION OF CHINA

GHOST MARRIAGE: A NECROMANTIC TRADITION OF CHINA

Every parent has a wish of seeing their children getting married, having kids and living a happy life, so does the parent in China do. But this wish has a necromantic turn in China where if a boy dies without getting married, his family members make him marry a deceased girl.

A 3000-year-old tradition which is still being followed in some parts of China where one or both parties are deceased. This tradition is considered normal and has been given a name also, “Ghost Marriage”. In one of a recent case, a family in China’s Shanxi province has conducted “ghost marriage” where they used a corpse of a woman to pacify the soul of their boy who died without getting married.

Just like the societies who put pressure on the parents to conduct a marriage to their children after a certain age, the same societal pressure is applied in this tradition. It is believed that if the deceased person is not married, he or she would haunt their parents. The same goes with parents, who think that their children fulfilled their wishes without fulfilling his own.

One of the main problem people face is, the body of a deceased boy is not given place to bury in married people’s graveyard, while that of a dead girl is not even allowed to do rituals which usually done to a deceased person. What people do is, they conduct a marriage where both groom and bride are dead, so, they don’t need to be alone even after their death.

In Taiwan, if an unmarried woman passes away, her family may place red packets with cash, paper money, a lock of hair and a fingernail out in the open and wait for a man to pick it. The first to pick them up is chosen as the groom. If he refuses to marry the ghost bride then it is believed to be bad luck.

Earlier it used to a situation where both bride and groom are deceased but with the passing of time, both or one of them can be deceased. A lot many cases have been filled where, if the family is unable to find a pair, they choose to kill unmarried people so that he or she can be a companion for their child. The question here pops up is, is it okay to kill people for the myths they follow? While asking this to few people in China, they simply answered that it is okay because by doing something bad if you can provide happiness to someone then it is not an issue.

The basic ideology behind this is that the deceased should continue their lives even after their death. A lot of people follow a plethora of superstitions but to carry it out by killing someone is not how it is supposed to be.

Shivendra Pandey

A BJMC graduate in tv journalism. Exploring the way things persist!

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