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In Western culture, the line between the living and the dead tends to be a bold one.
In an effort to compartmentalize on a cultural scale, we here in the States, for example, have an entire industry that’s fueled by final farewells. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone says goodbye differently.
Most interesting, however, are those who don’t really say goodbye at all. Eastern cultures typically have complex, nuanced relationships with death, which is what makes funerary practices in places like the Philippines so fascinating. The Chinese Cemetery of Manila, which is one of the oldest graveyards in the country, is a testament to this unique perspective on life after death.
Thousands of people flock to the Chinese Cemetery of Manila each year, but some of them never leave (and I’m not just talking about bodies here, people).
Many of the facilities come fully equipped with functional kitchens and lovely living quarters. These creature comforts are added as part of an ancient Chinese burial ritual.
As you might have guessed by the name, this cemetery was built for Chinese families in the Philippines to accommodate their belief that the spirits of their loved ones exist on another plane after death. Their graves serve as earthly dwellings.
It’s cheekily referred to as “the Beverly Hills of the Dead”, and the kicker is that these mausoleum-house hybrids are larger than most family homes in the region.
And that’s why some visitors have decided to overstay their welcome…by never leaving. So many have done so, in fact, that the cemetery now functions just like any other community.
There’s a clear divide between rich and poor residents, but that division does not appear to exist between the living and the dead.
(via Messy Nessy Chic)
Again, there’s really nothing good or bad about the ways in which cultures around the world deal with death. We’re all just different, and if you ask me, anything that makes the painful loss of a loved one easier is okay in my book. If you ever make your way over to the Philippines, the Chinese Cemetery of Manila is certainly worth a visit.