Belly Dancing For The Dead
NPR’s Louisa Lim spends a day with one of China’s top professional mourners, Dingding (“Dragonfly”) Mao:
As the ceremony starts, the strains of “The Internationale” ring out, and Zhang Tujin’s family walks slowly forward to stand around his coffin. Now dressed in white satin, Dingding Mao begins her eulogy, her face serious despite her incongruous bouncy ponytails.
[…] As she continues, the music builds, and she falls to her hands and knees. Colored lights flash around her, as she crawls toward the coffin, wailing.
“You were like a tall tree sheltering your kids from the wind and rain,” she moans. “We never thought you’d leave so soon.”
People are sniveling and wiping their eyes, while the family members are weeping uncontrollably. Some of the smaller children in the audience are watching wide-eyed, their hands over their ears. [Source]