China Gives Its Ancestors Paper iPhones, iPads To Use In The Afterlife


Tomb Sweeping Day is a tradition that dates back thousands of years in China.
Tomb Sweeping Day is a tradition that dates back thousands of years in China.

The Chinese will celebrate Tomb Sweeping Day on April 4, a ceremony which encourages them to remember their ancestors by laying out food at their grave sites, and burning paper replicas of daily necessities, such as clothes, money, cars, and houses. This year a few new items have been added to that list of necessities: the iPad and the iPhone.

British broadsheet The Telegraph reports that paper replicas of Apple’s hugely popular iOS devices are selling “like hot cakes” in China, as millions of people prepare to honor their ancestors by burning paper goods that they believe can be used in the afterlife.

“The paper iPhones and iPads sold are the same size as the real ones with a whole complete package of components like headphones,” an online retailer known by his surname, Tang, told AFP.

“I have run this online shop for four years, and started to sell paper iPhones and iPads two years ago.

“These … are quite popular. Many people ask about them especially when Tomb Sweeping Day is approaching.”

A paper replica of the iPad is selling for around ¥538 (approx. $85) in China, which is a darn sight cheaper than the real thing. A paper iPhone costs just ¥22 (approx. $3.49).

Apple’s iOS devices have become hugely popular in China in recent years. So much so that the devices are big business for scalpers who snap them up at the Apple store and then sell them on through the grey market for a huge profit. Apple has been recently working to curb this practice, however, instigating a new reservation system that means customers must first order their products online before collecting them from the Apple store.