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Chinese to burn iPads in upcoming celebrations

Fondleslabs go up in smoke in honour of ancestors

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Chinese people will burn paper replicas of iPads next week at an annual ceremony called the tomb-sweeping ritual during the Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival, which celebrates the dead.

During the tomb sweeping ritual, which falls on 4 April this year, Chinese people honour their ancestors by burning paper replicas of earthly things that the deceased might like in the afterlife.

In historical times it was traditional to take sacrificial roosters to the dead. But times have changed and the deceased seemingly prefer tablet computers to chickens now, so iPads are the new best offering for departed love ones.

Paper replicas of money, food, cars, chopsticks, clothes and servants are also burned at the tombs of ancestors, as are replicas of LCD TVs and smartphones. Paper iPads sell for about HK$25 ($3.20, £2) in Hong Kong.

The tradition of honouring the dead on QingMing day was apparently started by the king of Qi Stephen Fry Chong'er, around 600BC. It comes after a faithful servant of Chong'er helped feed him while he was in exile, by cutting out some of his own thigh to make Chong'er a meat soup.

The humble soup-maker – Jie – had no desire for thanks when Chong'er regained power so wandered off to live quietly in the forest. Determined to thank him, the King burned down the forest in the hope of smoking him out so he could find him. Sadly Jie and his elderly mother died in the fire. The King instituted a day of tomb-sweeping and libations to the dead in honour of the loyal Jie.

And people think the tradition of waiting outside Apple stores is weird. ®

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