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English Corner

Death traditions go digital
April 3, 2015  

 Updated: 2015-04-03

 From: China Daily

Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a festival in which Chinese pay homage to their deceased loved ones.

Family members clear the weeds around the tombs, burn incense and make traditional paper offerings, such as paper money, at the grave sites.

But Wei Zeyun, a 27-year-old from Beijing , will pay tribute to her deceased godfather by visiting his online memorial hall instead of making a trip to his grave.

She has been using the online homage service since her godfather passed away in 2003.

"My godfather watched me grow up, and I always remember how well he treated me," Wei says.

"He was a man of great social status and connections, but I have no blood connection with him. If I go to his grave to demonstrate my filial piety and respect, it probably will seem strange to other people.

"The online homage service gives me a new channel to pay tribute to him without causing inconveniences."

Wei is one of a growing number of Chinese who have ceased observing the traditional Qingming Festival rituals and instead pay homage to deceased ancestors online.

With a few clicks of a mouse, users can build online memorial halls for their deceased loved ones using online homage websites.

Online users can post photos of the dead, write the stories of their life, upload videos and express their grief by adding letters and funeral songs to the virtual halls.

They can also present things the deceased enjoyed in life, such as alcohol, cigarettes and flowers and even burn virtual incense and paper offerings.

The users can also send the website links to the deceased person's friends and relatives for them to gather in the cyber world to honor the dead.


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