Virtual graveyard now online

Graveyard

Chinese tradition says people should visit their relatives' graves once a year, but now they can also pay their respects online.

Even Hong Kong's dead can't escape the Internet after the government opened the electronic gates on a brand new virtual graveyard.

In Chinese culture, relatives are expected to visit the cemetery at least once a year to pay their respects. But now, mourners can simply visit memorial.gov.hk and set up a page free-of-charge.

Up to 100,000 users can upload photos and videos of their loved ones, write descriptions and offer condolences.

Family and friends can make traditional offerings, as is the Chinese custom, by using "emoticon" symbols depicting fruit, flowers and candles.

There are even emoticons for roast pigs, chickens and paper money which are all popular graveside offerings in Chinese tradition.

Mourners can also upload any special images that their dead relative loved, such as the racing pages from a newspaper or a tasty bowl of their favourite noodles.

But no one has yet worked out how to offer incense, an essential offering, as downloadable smoke and smells have yet to be invented.

The online graveyard's welcome page features fluffy white clouds in a blue sky, and a quick burst of sunlight, as white dandelion seeds float peacefully by.

"Leave a message for your beloved ones with memories," the site says, explaining that it is aimed at "facilitating the public to pay tribute and show condolence to their beloved ones at any time, and from anywhere".

Only Hong Kongers can be registered and must be confirmed dead, and have been buried or cremated in the city.

Source AFP

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