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The oldest carp stream in China
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The carp stream flows through Puyuan village in southeast China's Fujian Province, in this photo published on Thursday, September 25, 2008. [xmnn.cn]

A carp stream with a history stretching back over 800 years in Puyuan village, in the southeastern province of Fujian, has recently been listed in the Shanghai "Great World DSJJNS" as China's oldest carp stream, the Southeast Express reports. It is also one of the most unique.

The carp stream gained its reputation due to the cultural tradition of local villagers who provide funerals, tombs and oration for the dead carp.

Along the 1,200 meter long stream a unique custom has been kept for over 800 years. Villagers here consider carp to be divine spirits, and thus hold funerals for them after their death.

On Thursday morning, a special funeral was held for a golden carp. Over 20 people in traditional Chinese dresses attended the ceremony. With funeral music, burning joss sticks and old wine – all of which are usually seen in traditional Chinese people's funerals - the funeral lasted for half an hour.

An elderly religious man read the funeral oration before the carp was sent into a tomb made from cobblestones.

To date, over 10,000 carp have been sent to this tomb after their death. Surprisingly, their bodies never smell unpleasant.

Now, more than 30,000 carp live in the carp stream, which exists in a harmonious relationship with local villagers.

For longer than most villagers can remember they have taken every effort to protect the carp. When constructing houses along the stream, people will build caves under the bluestone for the carp to shelter in.

Also, to avoid the carp being polluted by chemical detergents, villagers never wash clothes in the stream, and domestic sewage is discharged through separate pipes.

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