Now and then: Changing funeral trends

Updated: 2015-04-05 06:09


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Rest in space

Now and then: Changing funeral trends

A screen shot of a smart phone app that tracks the location of a loved one's remains. []

Like the Chinese expression: "A falling leaf returns to its roots," Chinese people have traditionally wished to be buried in their hometown, no matter how much trouble it may cause.

But while more Chinese are opting to bury their loved ones at sea it doesn’t necessarily follow that people would take a step much further – space funerals.

A Beijing undertaker is offering China's first space burial service, with the cheapest package starting at 5,600 yuan ($896.4).

The most expensive, at 75,000 yuan ($12,000), will "launch the ashes on a voyage through deepest space on a permanent celestial journey."

Although the cheapest deal costs no more than the popular iPhone 6S, Biian has not had a single client since being authorized two years ago by Celestis Inc. which introduced memorial spaceflights in 1997.|

Xu Yi, one of the founders of Biian - which literally means "the other shore" - said many enquiries came from retirees who formerly worked in the aeronautical and space technology industries, "who wish to rest in space", but that no firm reservations have been made.

He thinks opposition from family members made the pensioners give up on the idea. "Chinese traditionally want to keep the ashes and not be separated from them," Xu said.