Handbook on Religion in China
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Handbook on Religion in China

Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang

Informative and eye-opening, the Handbook on Religion in China provides a uniquely broad insight into the contemporary Chinese variations of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. In turn, China's own religions and transmissions of rites and systems of divination have spread beyond China, a progression that is explored in detail across 19 chapters, written by leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 6: Life-cycle rituals in rural and urban China: birth, marriage and death

Ellen Oxfeld


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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