Chinese Ghost Marriage - Why they want to do it?

"Hello Taoist Sorcery Master.. Can You tell me more about ghost marriage.. What is this?"

Ghost Marriage is also known as Posthumous marriage, or Necrogamy.

Chinese Ghost Marriage is also known as 配骨 (Bone Matching), 阴婚 (Yin Marriage), 鬼婚 (Ghosts Marriage), 灵婚 (Spirit Marriage).

In Folk Chinese Tradition, Ghost Marriage means either a living person marry a deceased person, or 2 deceased individuals getting married.

Ghost Marriages are also practiced in South Korea.

Ghost Marriages in Ancient China

There are many records of Ghost Marriages in Ancient Chinese Texts. The 2 popular ones are:

1) During the Jian-An Period, at the Year 208, Cao Chong (曹冲), who was one of the son of Cao Cao (曹操), died at the young age of 13. Cao Cao, out of his love for his son, betrothed the deceased lady of Surname Zhen (甄氏小姐) as Cao Chong’s wife and buried them together.

2) From an ancient Book - 昨梦录 (Dream Records Of Yesterdays) , written during Southern Song Period, by Kang Yu Zi (康与之), it was written that the families of deceased individuals of eligible age would seek help from ghost match-makers. If the deceased couples were found to be matchable,they would proceed with the ceremony of Ghost Marriage. (年当嫁娶未婚而死者,两家令媒互求之,谓之鬼媒人。通家状细帖,各以父母命祷而卜之。得卜,即制服冥衣,男带女裙帔等毕备,媒者就墓备酒果,祭以合婚。)

Why seek for Ghost Marriage Ceromony or Ritual?

In the past, it was believed that if there was a lonely grave in the ancestral grave, that would affect the prosperity of future generations. It was unlucky, so it was necessary to hold a marriage for the deceased.

Living persons seeking "Ghost Marriage" Ritual

1) Human life is unpredictable. One person is alive and the next second, he or she might be gone. When a steady couple has planned to get married but suddenly passed away due to accident or illness, the living person hope to complete the marriage, so as to be forever remembered in his / her heart, will seek for "Ghost Marriage" Ceromony. (Occasionally still practiced).

2) If a Chinese man has "double wives"or "multi-wives" luck in his life's destiny, usually the parents, and even the wife agree to has the husband do the "Ghost Marriage" with a deceased woman or several deceased Woman. This will help to maintain the living wife to be the only wife in the man's life. The 1st deceased woman to be married will be considered the Number 1 wife and 2nd deceased wife will be numbered as 2nd wife and so forth. The living wife will be always demoted as the last wife.

3) A deceased married Chinese woman's tablet is kept at the altar of her husband's family. However, if a woman of eligible age pass away unmarried, her family is prohibited from placing her tablet on the altar of her natal home. She will be "given a temporary paper tablet, placed not on the domestic altar but in a corner near the door. Hence, the important duty of Chinese parents in marrying off their children becomes increasingly important for their daughters. Since women are only able to acquire membership in descent lines through marriage, ghost marriage became a viable solution to ensure that unmarried, deceased daughters still had "affiliation to a male descent line" and could be appropriately cared for after death.

In Taiwan, please do not pick up the Red Packets (Ang Bao) on the floor, thinking that You might be lucky to find money inside. The parents of a deceased unwed daughter wanted to marry her off to a living man, so they will put some money, the daughter's hair and Bazi (Date of Birth and particulars) inside a Red Packet and leave it on the floor, waiting for a man to pick it up. Once You pick it up, the parents will appear from their hiding ground and welcome You to be the bridegroom / husband for the Ghost Marriage Proposal. You will be given a certain amount of wealth or benefits, but You cannot run away from the marriage. If You turn down the ghost marriage proposal, the ghost of the deceased daugther will hunt you down and create havoc in Your life.

In some desperate cases, some families are afraid that no one would pick up the red packets, thereby would simply, ramdomly attached the "red packet" onto a scooter / motorbike or anything that is normally owned by a mature male.

4) Younger brothers should not marry before their elder brothers, therefore a ghost marriage for an older, deceased brother may be arranged just before a younger brother's wedding to avoid incurring the disfavour of his brother's ghost.

Ghosts seeking "Ghost Marriage" Ritual

A ghost might happened to like a particular living person (living boyfriend or living girlfriend, or happen to spot a particular someone on the street), so the ghost will send hints to the living person through dreams or creating paranormal activities. The living person may consult a Spirit Medium in the temple to be told about the issue. Sometime, the female or male ghost was asking for a marriage ritual with another ghost (boyfriend or girlfriend who died together, or met another ghost in the ghost realm).

When a loving to-be-married couple happened to die together (usually accident cases), they will hint the living parents through dreams that they want a "Ghost Marriage" Ritual.

Take Note: If any Westerners and westernised Chinese were to laugh at this custom, please watch the Movie - "Ghost (1990)" and listen to the Song - "Unchained Melody" and then rethink again.

Beware of what You said - A real ghost story happened in Singapore

One man happened to walk pass a graveyard. He spotted a photo of the face of a  deceased girl on the tomb stone. He said:" What a beautiful girl, if she was alive, I'd like her to be my wife".  The ghost heard it and stick to him ever since. One day, he was riding his motorbike on the road at the opposite flow of traffic (Ghost covering eyes - 鬼遮眼). He was hit by a car and died in the accident. The deceased man's dad felt suspicious because he was not an alcoholic and never take drug and was a well-behaved person. He decided to consult the spirit medium in the temple near his home. The deity (in trance of spirit medium) told  the dad that a female ghost fall in love with his son and wanted him to be her husband and took away his life to be with her, due to what his son's said at her grave. A "Ghost Wedding" Ritual was performed  for them.

Video of 'Chinese Ghost Marriage' Ritual of 2 deceased persons
(Old Granny chanting mantra in Cantonese Language)

Related ghost movies & songs:

- Ghost (1990) - Romantic Ghost Story / Song - Unchained Melody

- The Ghost Bride (鬼新娘) 2017 - A Filipino horror film starring Kim Chiu and Alice Dixson with Ina Raymundo.

- 蔡琴- 被遗忘的时光 (Cai qin - Forgotten time)

Conclusion: Ghost Marriages are rarely practiced nowadays but it is still available in some Chinese Communities. Please beware of the Red Packets You found lying on the floor.
Important Note: There is consultation fee and ritual service charge when You seek help. The consultation fee & service charge are quite expensive and not anybody can afford it, or interested to pay for it. Kindly ask how much is the consultation service and ritual service fee when You seek help.

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