Thursday, March 3, 2016

Underworld Marriage (冥婚)

Underworld marriage is not forgotten in time amongst Malaysian and Singaporean Chinese; and perhaps in other parts of the world too. Time and again news of similar nature will pop up in local news paper concerning this ghost to ghost marriage.

In early 70’s, a neighbor of mine performed this type of marriage for his deceased eldest son. The story began something like this in brief:

One day, the youngest son of the neighbor came to my neighbor and said:

“Papa, I dreamed of a man called himself koko (big brother) came to me and said he wanted to get married for consecutively a few nights...”

My neighbor felt very strange as he did have a 3 year old baby died of high fever many years ago but he has not revealed this matter to his youngest son because things as such was deemed to be inauspicious in old Chinese society of those days and no one wanted to bring it up whatsoever. So he and his wife decided to consult an old medium.

In the medium’s place when the medium was in a trance, a young soul possessed the medium and said:

“Papa and mama, I am Ah Beng and I wanted to get married. I already have someone in mind and she is Ah Lian staying beside me…”

On hearing the words of Ah Beng’s ghost, my neighbor visited the graveyard and to his surprised he found another tomb of a young girl named Ah Lian. So, after some enquiry with the graveyard keeper, my neighbor finally found Ah Lian’s living family.

To both families’ surprise, Ah Lian’s sister also had the same dream that Ah Lian wanted to get married to Ah Beng. Since both families had the same message from spiritual world, they decided to perform an underworld marriage.

As I heard that a marriage ceremony was held between two paper effigies representing the bride and bridegroom. Friends and relatives were invited to attend the ceremony as if it was a real life wedding ceremony; except that all items such as gold and silver ingots, car, servants and a big house were made of paper.

The ceremony ended with burning of paper effigies and paper offerings. I have not heard of further news of Ah Beng and Ah Lian… not sure if they did come back to visit their parents or did the spiritual couple have any spiritual babies…

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