Marriage of the Dead
Marriage of the Dead.—Among the many curious practices that Marco Polo came across in his travels in the far East, the Tartar custom of marrying the dead deserves notice. He says: "If any man have a daughter who dies before marriage, and another man have had a son also die before marriage, the parents of the two arrange a grand wedding between the dead lad and lass, and marry them they do, making a regular contract! And when the contract papers are made out they put them in the fire, in order that the parties in the other world may know the fact, and so look on each other as man and wife. And the parents thenceforward consider themselves sib to each other just as if their children had lived and married. Whatever may be agreed on between the parties as dowry, those who have to pay it cause to be painted on pieces of paper, and then put these in the fire, saying that in that way the dead person will get all the real articles in the other world." This custom is also noted by other writers, even as late as the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is said to have been adopted by Jenghis Khan, for political reasons, and is named in his Yasa, published in 1205 a. d.