When we first heard stories of people burning paper condoms at funerals for their dead relatives, we were a little creeped out. OK, maybe more than a little. But, just when things couldn’t seem to get any weirder, they did. Burning paper condoms? Fuggedaboutit! How about some hot, live striptease action at the service? Cyndi, Bambi and Randi (or whatever their Chinese equivalents are) gyrating their young, supple flesh over grandpa Zhang’s cold, dead body. What a great sendoff — just as grandpa had always wanted. As usual, Shanghai Daily has the skinny:
Farmers in a small Jiangsu town (Donghai/东海) host strippers at their funerals to attract larger crowds, China Central Television reported the unique custom on Monday.
The local people believe that the more people gathered at a funeral, the more luck it will bring to the family and offspring. So some families hire striptease troupes to attract more people, the report said.
Some strippers even take off the trousers of male viewers and persuade them to join in the dancing, while others bathe in public or perform nude with snakes.
Sounds like a whale of a good time, or snake in this case. People have always said that the last rites ought to be a celebration of the deceased’s life. Shanghaiist can’t think of a more festive approach. Besides, just because you’re dead doesn’t mean the whole village has to stop partying. No word whether one kuai bills were handed out to
revelers mourners, although that probably wouldn’t have been appropriate … but who knows?
If you are online reading obituaries and buying a train ticket to Jiangsu right now, you might want to hold off that purchase. Sadly, as of this week, the party is over. Apparently some tightwad over at a CCTV news program (焦点访谈) caught wind of our happy village’s fun-eral practice and was determined to put an end to it. A primetime expose on national television this past Monday night did just that. On Tuesday, 16 local party officials were reprimanded and four were relieved of their duties immediately. Our once shining city on a hill has lost its luster. All “obscene” burial practices are outlawed from now on, no doubt putting a huge damper on Donghai’s funeral scene as well as crushing thousands of local girls’ dreams to one day shake their shapely behind in front of some strange, stiff man. Damn you CCTV! And by the way, if you think you can pull something on the DL, think again. Surviving family members must submit a funeral plan within 12 hours of the dead guy’s last breath. City officials have also set up a 24 hour hotline for residents to report any “funeral misdeeds”. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
We went to 焦点访谈’s website. Its last video entry was for the 8/18 show. The expose aired on the 21st. Perhaps we’ll have something to show you in a few days. Stay tuned! Here’s the video!
More information is availabe here and here (in Chinese).
P.P.S. Apparently this strippers-at-funerals phenomenon isn’t just a PRC thing. Across the strait in Taiwan, people have been doing it for years. Here are more fun bedtime reading material, here and here (where the photo came from).