tombsweeping day now big business
Last Updated : GMT 02:59:59
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Tomb-sweeping day now big business

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Tomb-sweeping day now big business

With paper replicas of an iPhone, a villa and golden pigs in his car, Luo Guofu drove more than 700 kilometers to pay his respects to his late father today, Qingming Festival.\"It is a soul redemption for me to present him with something special. I would rather pay big money for the peace of mind,\" said Luo of offerings which this year cost him around 8,000 yuan (US$1,290).Like millions of Chinese, he has spent considerable sums on items to be burned in a sacrificial practice that has become highly commercialized.Qingming Festival, also known as the tomb-sweeping day, is when Chinese commemorate the dead. It is traditional for family members and relatives to tend the graves of their loved ones by leaving food and drink at their burial sites and burning fake money as an offering.In recent years, however, the offerings have been updated to include other modern trappings of prosperity in replica form. While critics have decried the accompanying ramping-up of costs, many like Luo have plumped for buying the now-infamous paper iPhones.Witnessing him die on a train journey back home has left me with a life-long pain,\" says Luo, whose father passed away three years ago while traveling from Guangzhou to their native village in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He is buried in Guangxi\'s Nanning City.Luo, a 38-year-old IT engineer in Guangzhou, left his village and parents at the age of 16.For many years, Spring Festival family reunions were generally the only chance he got to see his father until he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in 2010.\"After I was forever apart from him, I always felt spiritually empty in my busy urban life. I would like to try my best to pay him back, and this is the only way possible,\" Luo said.Chinese people will burn more than 1,000 tons of paper products today. The so-called \"white consumption\" of sacrificial offerings amounted to about 10 billion yuan last year, according to the China Consumers\' Association.This year, a surging trend of luxury sacrificial offerings is sweeping the nation, with sky-high prices for everything from paper castles to yachts and Apple products. Their price tags range from several hundred to dozens of thousands of yuan per piece.\"Fake money for burning, paper gold ingots and cigarettes are out of fashion. On the other hand, there are many modern high-end products which sell well both in my shop and online store,\" said a Nanning funeral products retailer surnamed Huang.Huang\'s store stocks over 50 kinds of offerings, including fake property ownership certificates, famous-brand watches and even large castles - an item priced at 20,000 yuan which many customers have reserved in advance.Wei Jiankang, a 52-year-old high school teacher, paid about 1,000 yuan for a paper iPhone, car and computer to mourn his parents in Nanning\'s Qinglonggang Cemetery. \"They bore hardships to bring us up but passed away quite early. My dad never dreamed of driving a car or using a mobile phone,\" he said.\"I felt so much regret that I could not offer them a better life. Though living frugally myself, I bought these things without hesitation upon the store owner\'s recommendation,\" Wei said.In fact, the cost of a paper mobile phone is just 0.5 yuan and a paper sports car about 1.5 yuan, according to a funeral products workshop owner surnamed Wei in Nanning.Wei said: \"The retailers get windfall profits by prompting this blind vying based on people\'s special emotions and experiences in mourning their loved ones.\"Some people say the trend is tantamount to profiteering from the dead.China is a nation that pays great respect to filial piety. And the Qingming Festival, in particular, encourages people to remember departed family members, Zhou Xiaozheng, a sociology professor at the Renmin University of China, said.Zhou said people should rethink the holiday\'s purpose by honoring the dead in more tasteful ways

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