Every Qing Ming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day, Chinese people commemorate their ancestors by burning joss paper (“ghost money)” as well as gifts to help the afterlife reflect the real world. This year, it was apparently all about the internet routers, iPhones, and subway passes, which tells us a lot more about the living than the dead. Quartz reports:
As younger Chinese play a larger role in the annual holiday known in English as Tomb Sweeping Day, it’s become an occasion to look at what Chinese shoppers are thinking about most.
This year, internet routers emerged as a new gift—perhaps a testament to China’s quickly expanding population of internet users. A customer told China News Service, ”My grandma never used a computer before, so I bought this for her so she could surf the Internet.” The iPhone was another common offering, as was smartphones from Samsung, Apple’s main competitor in China.
Fake iPhones are also on the rise as gifts
because if it’s good enough for some laowai you’re trying to rip off at the fake market then it’s good enough for your ancestors.
Some of the gaudier trends that have surfaced recently include hiring professional mourners on Taobao to grieve your ancestors (if you’re too busy/lazy), and a QR code on gravestones that allows smartphone users to access info about the deceased.