Bereaved parents yesterday held a posthumous ghost wedding in Greater Taichung’s Dongshih District (東勢) for their beloved daughter and son, a young couple killed last week by a mudslide caused by torrential rain.
With a Chinese love song playing in the background, the parents of Su Cheng-hung (蘇正紘) and Teng Hsin-ning (鄧心寧) bore witness to the couple’s love in a wedding ceremony held at a mortuary designed to bring their spirits together for eternity.
Su, a conscientious forest ranger at the Dongshih Forest District Office, was at work at Chiayang forestry station on Monday last week, where Teng was visiting him, when a landslide caused by heavy rains in the mountains of Lishan (梨山) smashed into the station and buried them.
Despite being rushed to a hospital, the couple were soon pronounced dead.
Prior to the marriage ceremony, Su’s family asked the forest district office to issue an “order of task release,” which was burned and passed on to Su in the afterlife, telling him to “stand down” and go home.
The posthumous wedding ceremony, presided over by Forestry Bureau director-general Lee Tao-sheng (李桃生) and officiated by the fathers of the deceased was almost identical to a normal wedding.
A range of traditional items were prepared, including gift money, 16 boxes of wedding cakes, golden necklaces and new clothes.
The main difference with a ghost wedding was that a paper mache mansion is burned as a gift to the couple as was a composite -wedding -photograph made by Su’s colleagues.
Holding back their tears, Su’s parents, Su Ming-hsien (蘇明賢) and Ho Yu-tzu (何佑慈), said they had long regarded Teng as their daughter-in-law.
“They were both born on 16th day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, with [Su] Cheng-hung being three years older than [Teng.] We hope that they follow hand-in-hand in the footsteps of Buddha and live happily ever after in heaven,” they said.
Su Cheng-hung’s high school and college classmate, Hsieh Kuang-pu (謝光普), also addressed the ceremony and shared with the attendees how the couple met and fell in love.
“They met at school because of their passion for sports. They started a long-distance relationship after [Su] Cheng-hung graduated from college and started his military service. Only after [Teng] Hsin-ning was admitted to a postgraduate program at National Chung Hsing University did they get to spend more time together,’’ Hsieh said.
“I hope they have a wonderful life in the next world,” he said.
Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer