University of South Carolina anthropologist Marc L. Moskowitz recently released a documentary film, Dancing for the Dead: Funeral Strippers in Taiwan, detailing the strange funeral rituals that take place in rural Taiwan. Discerning locals can rent an Electric Flower Car (EFC) to transport mom or dad into eternity. The flashy, neon platforms come equipped with blaring pop music and strippers.
Moskowitz, whose interest in both religion and pop-culture drove him to create the film, certainly shot some elaborate displays of grief. Sadly, after non-nudity laws were enacted in the '80s, full nudity has gone underground, so "strippers" in the film mostly writhe around wearing bathing suits. When interviewing Taiwanese people on the origins of the odd funeral rite, Moskowitz received various answers:
One person I interviewed told me that it was because a new ghost would get picked on by older ghosts so the performance was to distract the older ghosts to give the newer ghost time to get used to his environment without being harassed. Other people told me that the lower gods liked this kind of entertainment so that it was for them. Yet others said that the deceased liked that kind of activity when living so they wanted to send him off in style.
You can read the full interview with Moskowitz. And, for good measure, here's another funeral stripper: