In the tail of February when Chinese people are still in a post-Lunar New Year festive mood, they have been suddenly pulled back to harsh reality through a topic seen as taboo in such a holiday season – death.
在二月份的尾巴上,中国人民还沉浸在春节之后的气氛里,但一个在节日里被视为禁忌的话题——死亡,却忽然将他们拉回残酷的现实。
A joint statement released by nine ministries called for burial of deceased family members in a cemetery plot rather than the traditional one-plot-for-one-body practice.
九部委联合发文,提倡过世的家庭成员合葬在一个墓位,而非传统的一人一个墓位。
The statement came on Wednesday, two days after the Lantern Festival, and caused discussions over life and death one month earlier than due as the topic is usually popular in Qingming Festival, or Tomb Spring Festival known as a day when people visit cemeteries and pay tribute to ancestors.
这一倡导发表于周三,元宵节过后两天。这提前一个月引发了人们对于生与死的讨论,生与死的话题通常在清明节被讨论得很多——清明节是人们扫墓、对祖先致以敬意的节日。
With or without the festivity-mutilated statement, Chinese people are still frustrated with the beyond-reach prices of cemeteries especially in big cities where sky-high housing prices, job pressure, and air pollution have already made for difficult standards of living. This leads to philosophical frustrations – why is it equally hard to die?
不管有没有这份破坏节日气氛的联合发文,中国人面对墓地不可企及的价格,总会感到受挫,在大城市中尤其是这样。大城市里房价极高,工作压力大,又有空气污染问题,这都使得生活困难。这就引发了具有哲学意味的挫败感——为什么死去和活着一样难?
How hard can it be? In Beijing, a burial plot can claim from 40,000 yuan ($6,214) per square to tens of thousands of dollars, while price tag also pick up from 50,000 yuan ($7,655) per square and up in Shanghai and Guangzhou. The per square cost of where the body will be laid can rival that of a comfortable apartment one can buy to live an actual life.
究竟能有多难呢?在北京,一块墓地的价格为每平方米4万元(6214美元)到上万美元;而在上海和广州,有的墓地标价为每平方米5万元(7655美元)或者更多。作为遗体的安置之处,墓地每平方米的价格都比得上活人居住的舒适公寓了。
Soaring prices didn’t scare people away from getting their dead family members into earth though. Traditional Chinese funeral rites advocate extravagant burials in a way to make their ancestors rest not only in peace, but also in dignity.
飞涨的价格并不曾吓退想使已故亲人入土为安的人们。传统的中国葬礼提倡奢侈厚葬,以此使得他们的祖先不仅能够安息,还能够有尊严。
Convention also prefers the practice of bodies being buried in the soil than ash spreading as a Chinese saying goes – "Falling leaves settle on their roots". This explains why authorities have promoted eco-friendly funerals, such as spreading ash to the sea, but for years they’ve only received cold shoulders.
中国的习俗更倾向于将遗体埋葬在土壤中,而非将骨灰撒掉,正如中国古话所言——“落叶归根。”因此虽然政府提倡要生态安葬,如骨灰撒海等,但多年来人们对此一直态度冷淡。