Wednesday, August 10, 2011


The principal part of a Chinaman's religion consists in efforts to deceive the devil. When a Chinaman dies, for instance, the friends of the deceased instantly bestir themselves to forestall the machinations of the evil one. The doors apd windows of the house are carefully closed, to preveut the devil from finding out what has occurred within, and sympathetic friends, in spreading the mournful intelligence, do so either in whispers, that the devil may not overhear, or, when speaking aloud, instead of saying that the man is dead, tell one another that he has "stuck up the pigtail," a euphemism which the devil is not supposed to understand. The funeral is a series of efforts to mislead the arch enemy of the Chinese soul and to throw him off the track In his .earnest pursuit of his prey. It Is well known that the devil cannot see through a cloud of smoke, and that he is 'distracted by noise, so, ere the cortege leaves the house, packs of crackers are fired in front of the door, and in the smoke and confusion the bearers seize the coffin and start off in a. lively trot. After they emerge from the smoke of the house door they are, however, quickly perceived by the enemy, who takes after them on a run. But the Chinese devil is very fat, consequently short of breath, and can not easily change his course, so, after trotting a short distance the pallbearers, turn a corner, at which has been stationed a friend with a supply of tire-crackers, which at the proper moment he lights, and the devil, having already run past, is confused by the noise and smoke, and some.time elapses ere he again takes up the trail. Having secured a good start at the house and at the nearest corner, the pallbearers have little difficulty in deceiving the devil during the rest of the journey to the cemetery, for the route is made us crooked as possible, and there is a lavish expenditure of' fireworks on the way. But the devil knows, that the funeral was started and where It was going, so, after a short and fruitless pursuit, he gives up the chase, goes on to the cemetery gate, where he sits down to rest, get his breath, and wait for the funeral. But the clever Chinamen are to the Inst too sharp for him; they enter the cemetery through a hole in the wall, left for the purpose, hurry through the burial service, with more fire-crackers, and before the old boy realises what is going on the dene} Chluamah is burled and beyond his reach. Undoubtedly there are educated Chinamen who regard these cerembnles as childish observations, at once superstitious and silly, but among the masses of the people they are a part of the Chinese religion, sincerely believed, and honestly practised. They are evidences of the arrest of the Chinese mental development and a proof that the Mongolian race Is yet in mental childhood. Auckland Star, Volume XXXI, Issue 144, 13 October 1900, Page 5

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