This month, the Chinese celebrate the Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day. The holiday itself, which honors the dead, is not so unusual, but the massive industry of snatching dead bodies to marry them off as "dead spouses" is well... pretty strange indeed.
Body-snatching business is quite lucrative during this time of the year than any other festivals. Consider this: a family of a dead 18-year-old boy paid a hefty sum of US$5,600 for the body of a 17-year-old girl who had died of a brain tumor. However; after the ceremony, grave robbers dug up the girl's body again, presumably, to match her again to a ghost groom in the next province.
Traditional Chinese believe that if their relatives die before getting engaged, their ghosts will be lonely and the family fortune might suffer. This is why these families pay huge sums for "ghost marriages."
The economic boom has afforded affluent Chinese the ability to arrange for "ghost marriages" for their relatives who have died unbetrothed. The wealthy, therefore, are more willing to pay huge sums for a "ghost bride."
Families work with brokers to find bodies for their dearly departed. One report stated that a body can fetch as much as US$20,600.
This creepy tradition had been going on for more than 3,000 years until it was banned during the Cultural Revolution. However, it was reinstated recently, in 2008.
The practice is said to be shrouded in controversy. An ancient Confucian text said to be from the 2nd century BCE forbids it. But it was also recorded that imperial families conducted ghost marriages in the Tang and Song dynasties.