Old habits die hard. Take, for example, having a stripper come to perform at a funeral. With a live snake, no less.
Weird though it may(!) sound, the custom is a commonplace in China, albeit one that is in danger of extinction. According to the Wall Street Journal:
[T]he government plans to work closely with the police to eliminate such performances….
Pictures of a funeral in the city of Handan in northern Hebei province last month showed a dancer removing her bra as assembled parents and children watched. They were widely circulated online, prompting much opprobrium. In its Thursday statement, the Ministry of Culture cited “obscene” performances in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu, as well as in Handan, and pledged to crack down on such lascivious last rites.
In the Handan incident earlier this year, the ministry said, six performers had arrived to offer an erotic dance at the funeral of an elderly resident. Investigators were dispatched and the performance was found to have violated public security regulations, with the person responsible for the performing troupe in question detained administratively for 15 days and fined 70,000 yuan (about $11,300), the statement said. The government condemned such performances for corrupting the social atmosphere.
Efforts to banish funereal strippers are nothing new. But how did this bizarre custom get its start? According to a resident of Handan, having a stripper present at one’s funeral is viewed as a harbinger of good fortune in the afterlife. Also, it’s a way of attracting crowds to a funeral. “Otherwise no one would come,” the man said.