Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang
Chapter 6: Life-cycle rituals in rural and urban China: birth, marriage and death
Life-cycle ritual practices have been transformed by the economic and political revolutions of the twentieth century, by the new disposable income of the majority of the population and by their mainly urban dwellings, as well as by the restrictions of secular government regulations. Ancestors are honoured, but stipulated cremation has simplified death rituals, urban and rural. Secularized death rituals, in urban but also in some rural settings, are enacted alongside other households employing Buddhist or Daoist practitioners to save the souls of the household dead. Household prestige depends on the size of banquets, in funerals, weddings and old age, and new rituals for feasting at birthdays have been added, democratizing the seeking of status through relative wealth.
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