Back in the day in rural China, it was customary to hire a band and play dirges in remembrance of the deceased. Now the tradition has spread to the cities, but the bands play a very different tune, performing popular songs such as Gangnam Style. The Korean pop sensation Psy’s song, after becoming viral all over the world, is now a popular song choice for funerals in China -- despite being anything but a funereal melody.
On Sunday, a Weibo (China’s microblog) user in one of China's biggest cities reported that it seemed someone had passed away in a street nearby, because funeral dirges were played early that morning. After, however, the band carried on and played all kinds of popular songs, including Gangnam Style -- and played on for at least 12 hours. “I didn’t know traditions from the country have spread to the center of Nanjing,” the microblogger said.
A few commenters said they have heard the same, and it’s not all that unusual anymore for funeral bands to play pop songs.
“It happens in our neighborhood too,” a Nanjing local said in a story by Yangtse News. “It’s annoying but out of respect for the dead, we have to put up with it.”
Sophie is a graduate of Northwestern University. She covers the emerging markets in Southeast Asia, with a particular interest in foreign investment in the region....