Proxy tomb-sweeping on WeChat

Source: Shanghaiist (3/28/17)
Cemetery offers to honor your ancestors for you this Tomb Sweeping Day, while you watch on WeChat


Qingming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Day in English, is an annual holiday in which people around China flock to cemeteries to pay their respects to their ancestors by praying, tidying up graves and perhaps leaving behind some flowers, food or a fake solar panel. But what if you just don’t have the time for all of that?

Well, luckily this year Yuhuatai Cemetery in Nanjing is offering to honor your ancestors for you, and live-stream the whole thing on WeChat so that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. The cemetery says that relatives can register and pay on their official WeChat account. They will then receive a password allowing them to tune in at the appropriate time.

This modern method of celebrating the ancient festival has not gone down well with many netizens online who say that it is turning the solemn occasion into a mockery and could spell the end for 5,000 years of Chinese culture.

But really, the cemetery is simply trying to enter into an already booming business. Each year around this time, a number of opportunists offer their services online as “professional tomb sweepers.” Last year, Sixth Tone profiled one of these professionals who charged 500 yuan for honoring a stranger’s ancestor by “tomb-sweeping, lighting candles, laying flowers, burning fake money, and bowing to the graves.” By the time that Qingming Festival rolled around he had 37 tombs to sweep.

Tomb Sweeping Day falls on April 4th this year, so if you’re looking to lazily honor your ancestors you had better get on booking a proxy now while supplies last. Of course, if you’re looking to do the holiday right, then hire some strippers instead.


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