First prize: A place for your ashes

A funeral business union based in the central Taiwan county of Nantou held a lottery draw at a recent dinner party offering as top prize a nice place to store the winner’s ashes after death, Taiwanese media reported on Wednesday.

The second prize was a coffin, an organiser of the macabre contest was quoted as saying by cable news network TVBS.

Since the dinner guests were all involved in the funeral business, the prizes were welcome.

A place in a building where the deceased’s cremated remains are stored in urns, known as a columbarium, costs at least 50 000 Taiwan dollars ($1 538) in Taiwan, the TV station quoted the organiser as saying.

The prizes are considered unlucky for most people in Taiwan, where anything related to funerals and death is considered taboo. To most islanders, sending someone a coffin or a columbarium place would mean a curse.—Sapa-dpa

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