China’s Ghoulish ‘Ghost Marriage’ Tradition Still ‘Alive’ and Well

Gold wedding rings. (Jeff Belmonte/Wikimedia Commons)
Gold wedding rings. (Jeff Belmonte/Wikimedia Commons)

The Chinese have believed for thousands of years that if a man dies without being married, it is bad luck. It is believed that he will haunt his living relatives.

So relatives participate in what is known as a “ghost marriage.” This is where the bride is found and wed to him post mortem. It is however, now outlawed, but there is still a booming trade for female corpses on the black market.

This is a video about grave robbers stealing women’s corpses:

It’s a sad fact that many people around the world die alone. It’s not only sad in China, but is also unlucky. It is believed that an unmarried man will be unsatisfied, and will haunt living relatives by causing havoc and mischief.

To save this from happening, relatives would find a bride for their dead relative. It’s not just any bride, it needs to be a dead bride so he can have company in the afterlife.

Ghost marriages are traditionally the same as if they were alive.

Often, the groom’s family gives cash as gifts to the bride’s relatives. The bride would then be exhumed from her resting place and reburied next to her new husband, a man in most cases she never knew.

Ghost marriages were made illegal in 1949. In most areas of China, it is seen as a primitive and an outdated superstition. However, the superstition and stigma has persisted with some. Chinese abide by the law and use an alternative method.

This consists of what is called a “flour bride.” Wheat flour is molded into the shape of a woman by making it into a paste. Usually, traditional wedding makeup is still applied.

But not everyone abides by the law. With the economy picking up in China, more people are able to afford ghost marriages. But now, grave robbers are digging up female corpses and selling them for up to $6,000 each.

Video about 2013 grave robbing:

In 2013, four Chinese men were sent to prison for at least two years for digging up 10 female corpses. They had cleaned them and counterfeited their medical records so they could get better prices. They received up to $40,000 for the bodies, The Guardian said on their website.

The ring leader, identified as Wang, said: “Years-old carcasses are not worth a damn, while the ones that have just died, like this one, are valuable.” He was referring a body of a woman he and his associates dug up three months after she was buried, The Inquisitr reported.

Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Wedding ceremony. (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)

The Economist wrote: “The practice is most common in the northern provinces of Shanxi, Hebei, and Shandong. This is China’s coal-mining heartland. In mountainous Shanxi, pit accidents kill many men too young to marry.”

All around the world there are strange superstitions and customs, and this one is right up there. If you didn’t know about this superstition, then maybe your friends don’t, so share it with them and see what they think.

A Post-Roast Justin Bieber Looks Forward to a New Chapter in Life
Sick Boy's Painting Brings Estranged Mother Back Home (Photos)