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April 15, 2013

Straight out of Tom Sawyer

Chinese undertaker offering fake funerals for the living

Last month, 24 pretend funerals were held at the Shimenfeng Celebrity Culture Park cemetery in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

"It was the first time we ever offered this kind of service," said Zhang Bei, the mortuary's 30-year-old "cemetery designer", who argued the experience could help people better appreciate their lives.

The fake funerals were the brainchild of Zeng Jia, a 20-year-old student, who became the first to lie down in a coffin during her fake wake at the end of March.

Ms Zeng, who is studying to be an undertaker, said she had come up with the idea after a relative suffered a brain haemorrhage and died in 2011. "I was so touched by this incident," she said.

Workers at the cemetery were initially confused by Ms Zeng's idea but were eventually convinced.

"We were really surprised but found [the concept] new and interesting," said Ms Zhang.

Despite the absence of genuine cadavers, Ms Zhang said the funeral services were realistic, involving coffins, floral bouquets, mourners, photographers and even emotion-packed speeches from friends of the 'deceased'. [...]

"The atmosphere is quite light-hearted, just like a party," said Ms Zhang.

Posted by joke du jour at April 15, 2013 06:02 PM

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