Chapter

Everlasting Debts

Ellen Oxfeld

in Drink Water, but Remember the Source

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780520260948
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520945876 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520260948.003.0004
Everlasting Debts

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Mourning, memorialization, and care of the dead: no one would dispute that these have long played a dominant role in China. Funerals are still a core ritual in Moonshadow Pond, although they have been altered, recreated, and revised several times through the twists and turns of the Maoist and reform eras. This chapter asks what the role of funerals is in village life now and how residents of Moonshadow Pond understand them. It goes without saying that funerals in China are connected to obligation in morality. Many have found other factors at work in the time, energy, and attention that rural Chinese put into funerals, such as the fear of ancestral retribution, the desire to counteract the inauspiciousness of death, or the coveting of status among the living.

Keywords: mourning; memorialization; China; funerals; Moonshadow Pond; reform; obligation; morality; retribution; death

Chapter.  15395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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