Ghost Marriages - A Brief Interest

Ghost Marriage
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In Chinese tradition, a ghost marriage (Chinese: 冥婚; pinyin: mínghūn; literally: "spirit marriage") is a marriage in which one or both parties are deceased. Other forms of ghost marriage are practiced worldwide, from Sudan, to France since 1959. The origins of Chinese ghost marriage are largely unknown, and reports of it being practiced today can be found.

Ghost marriage (Chinese) Wikipedia

In Japan, man-doll marriage replaced man-ghost marriage in the 1930s. In order to thwart a dead man's "resentment toward the living" over being "denied the sexual and emotional fulfillment of marriage and procreation," and thus tormenting "their more fortunate living relatives," the man is married to a bride doll. The doll is placed under a glass case along with a picture of her ghost husband, and the two stay there for 30 years. After 30 years, the ghost husband can pass on. It should be noted that dead Japanese women can also take a doll husband. However, it seems to be less common.

Creepy Corner - xoJane

To be honest, ever since I first started reading my "true ghost tales" from a locally published author (Russell Lee, anyone?), I was instantly hooked into the world of the supernatural, the paranormal and the old myths and folklores that you hear grandmothers talk about. Over time, I realized that those books were not enough for me. Reading about someone else ghost tales didn't quite cut it for me, not to mention that one entry about encountering the Hell Girl sometime shortly after the actual Hell Girl (Jigoku Shoujo) manga and anime somewhat took the world of anime and manga fanatics by storm and died down after a short while. We all know Hell Girl isn't real in the first place, since it's a work of fiction. Didn't expect said author of the book to actually believe the bullshit though xD

And some time later, I found myself at the topic of ghost marriages. Initially, I thought it was quite scary at first when I first see this topic being discussed on a television show about supernatural/paranormal accounts. But after reading up about it, I thought it was somewhat fair that our dearly departed shouldn't be deprived of the little things we humans are entitled to, just based on the fact that they are deceased and we're not yet. I mean, if you're dead and all your living siblings are happily married with a family of their own but because you're dead. therefore you are not married, don't have a spouse at the very least to call your own, it would suck big time huh?

Chinese Style - Dead Spouses

For Chinese ghost marriage, a not-so-normal scenario would have been something like this:

Family A has a deceased daughter who died at somewhere around age 12, X years ago. Recently, the mother of the deceased girl has been having recurring dreams of her deceased daughter asking her mother for help because she found a boy (deceased, of course!) that she likes. Family B has a deceased son who died at somewhere around age 13, X years ago. Recently, an elder sibling and his mother has been having recurring dreams also, of their deceased brother/son asking for their help regarding a girl he knew in the afterlife. Both deceased sides will have give some information such as the name of a temple. Now, note that both families do not know of each other in the first place, but because their deceased love one(s) mentioned the name of a particular temple which brought both families there. They may not be at the temple at the same day and same time, but most probably a few days apart.

But because the temple medium keep track of these types of afterlife requests, such as afterlife marriages, there's a high possibility that the other half the deceased one(s) are talking about happened to be the very same spirit they were referring to. I mean, there can't possibly be at least 10 different deceased males and females are deciding to get married in the afterlife all at the same time, or it would be disastrous to marry another when it's someone else they were interested in. Once the temple medium established correctly that these 2 deceased are actually talking about the intention to get married to each other, the temple medium would contact both sides of the living and inform them of the good news that both deceased agreed to be married to each other.

Next would be to find out both deceased parties horoscopes, which surprisingly is compatible with each other. Then followed by the picking of an auspicious date for both deceased parties to get married. After that which follows, would be exactly the same as what a chinese living marriage would go through, but with a slight difference! A ghost couple at their marriage feast, the bride and groom may be constructed of paper bodies over a bamboo frame with a papier-mâché head. On either side of them stands their respective paper servants, and the room contains many other paper effigies of products they would use in their home, such as a dressing table (complete with a mirror), a table and six stools, a money safe, a refrigerator, and trunks of paper clothes and cloth. After the marriage ceremony is complete, all of the paper belongings are burned to be sent to the spirit world to be used by the couple.

The effigies wore real clothing, similar to that which is typically used in marriage ceremonies. This includes a pair of trousers, a white skirt, a red dress, with a lace outer dress.[11]:71> Additionally, they were adorned with jewelry; though similar in fashion to that of a typical bride's, it was not made of real gold. Most of the marriage ceremony and rites are performed true to Chinese custom. In fact, "the bride was always treated as though she was alive and participating in the proceedings" from being fed at the wedding feast in the morning, to being invited in and out of the cab, to being told of her arrival at the groom's house. One observable difference in a ghost marriage is that the ancestral tablet of the deceased is placed inside the effigy, so that "the bride's dummy [is] animated with the ghost that [is] to be married", and then placed with the groom's family's tablets at the end of the marriage festivities.

Chinese Style - 1 Dead Spouse

The scenario I think would be even more rare in any case. In this case, it doesn't matter the gender of the deceased but some families would take to choosing the prospective living bride or groom by leaving a red packet lying in the middle of the road and hiding within viewing sight. Anyone curious enough or rather, greedy enough to pick up that red packet and pocket the money knowing of the money's existence would then be "ambushed" by the living family that they are "chosen" to marry their deceased son or daughter. In short, the one unfortunate to pick up that red packet containing money will find themselves in a predicament. They can't really reject this offering since they knowingly picked up that red packet themselves and have only themselves to blame for this happening. Although I do believe there is a way out of this situation, but it will still involved the deceased and whether the deceased is willing to forgot this person for another "sacrifice" instead. In this case, another living person to take over the prospect of a spirit marriage.

A check on the Japanese side is somewhat similar, but is a man-doll marriage instead of a man-ghost marriage. What is a man-doll marriage? By substituting the deceased with a meikon doll a.k.a ghost marriage doll. But the information I have on Japanese ghost marriage is somewhat hazy, so I won't go much further detail into it. But what I didn't know is that, just for 2 deceased to have the desire to get married can actually involve so many steps is somewhat mystifying itself.


Riih Rion is bashful when facing cameras and video-cams. But she soon realized she is more comfortable behind a PC screen than in front of a lens. Riih is passionate about beauty products, paranormal & folk lore from anywhere in the world and sushi. Especially sushi. Come visit her blogs or drop her a comment :D


  1. Interesting to note how over in Sudan, the living brother of the deceased stands in as a 'replacement'. It is also said that among the Nuer, this is as common as what we would regularly know as a marriage.

    1. @Dominic Gamboa:

      Well, I find it strange in another sense. If the part about celibacy is supposed to be in effect, wouldn't it be against the vow of celibacy if the living brother of the deceased stands in? I mean, stand in regarding family matters is one thing, but stand in as a substitue for the widowed woman to have children is just hard to comprehend and understand :)


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