Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chinese Ideas as to Burial.

The Motive for the Removal

of the Bodies.

Like tbo Romans, the Greeks, and other nations of antiquity, including the Jews, tho Chinese regard tho rites of sepulture as of the highest importance. The loss of these rites, while their forms vary in different parts of the country, is hold by all Chinese to be a terrible calamity co the dead and to their living kinsfolk. The dead are supposed to be restrained by their animal nature to the tombs where their bodies lie, and to be drawn by their spiritual nature to their children and to the old scenes of their past life. If their bodies are unburied, or do not r.ceive full rites of sepulture, their ghosts are thought to be unhappy, to wander from the places where they lie to their former haunts, and to bring misfortune to their descendants and former companions. So great is the importance attached to funeral ceremonies that a native custom, dating back to the beginning of the Christian era, provides for a fictitious funeral, in which an effigy plays the part of a corpse, when the body of a deceased person has been lost by drowning, or for some other reason cannot be found.

Tombs in foreign lands—or even in Cbina if distant from the family home and graveyard—are usually regarded as but temporary resting-placesj and the bodies have later to be exhumed and buried properly if the souls of the dead are to bo satisfied, and to refrain from troubling the living. The peculiar reverence the Chinese feel for the dead, and the religious obligation upon the Chinese children to see that their ancestors receive due rites of sepulture and customary worship at their tombs will indicate the feelings of those who had sent away the remains of relatives by the ill-fated Ventnor.—Post. Manawatu Times, Volume XXVII, Issue 7572, 30 October 1902, Page 2

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