Yesterday I was reading 孟母三迁。 (Your environment has a big effect on your development seems to be the underlying theme.)

’... ,孟子常常玩修筑坟墓或学别人哭拜的游戏。‘

I can't find 哭拜, so I suppose it is a contraction of something. Maybe 哭泣 + 膜拜,祭拜。 Together I presume it means 'mourn'.

Asking around I find, in China it is not unusual to pay someone to cry at a funeral. Are these people professional mourners? 哭拜者? Is that what 孟子 was studying, professional mourners?

2 Answers 2


One quick translation I found on google books from Two Thousand Zhuang Proverbs from China with Annotations and Chinese and English Translation:

Daxnuengx bingzciengz yaek doxgyaez, ndei gvaq daengz seiz daejhenz moh.


Dear love between sisters when alive is better than crying sadly in front of the grave.

It does go to show that 哭拜 is often associated with graves, like your sentence above.

I would doubt these are professional criers - especially with the Zhuang proverb talking about sisters mourning for one another.

edit: Here's another instance I found from Rocky English

When RuanJi was mourning for his mother, one day his friend PeiKai came to grieve for Ruan's mother. He saw that Ruan was in great silence and refused to stand up to grieve, just sitting aside without having his hair teased.


Here it gets translated as grieve.

Also there's a translation here on CSLPOD


Soon, Yingtai was forced to get married. The bridal sedan chair made a detour to get to Liang Shanbo's grave. Yingtai insisted on getting off the sedan chair. All of a sudden, it became chilly and gloomy with wind and rain. Liang Shanbo's grave burst open. Yingtai fearlessly jumped in and suddenly the wind stopped and the rain too.

Here the translation is more just like to go to the grave.

So, 常常玩...学别人哭拜的游戏 just means that he often made a game of copying the mourners.

You might want to try and add it to MDBG. Here is the Add / change CC-CEDICT entry page.

You can fill out the submission form with your findings and comments.

  • Thanks! I do not think a complete Chinese English dictionary will ever be writ! Not your fault but the translation '哭拜亡灵' is not good imo, should be 'to mourn/pay her respects to the departed'
    – Pedroski
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 23:25
  • @Pedroski I think they kind of just glossed over it.
    – Mou某
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 2:32

presume it means 'mourn'

no. you missed the actions.

the classic "the book of rites" 禮記 defined many ritual behaviours, particularly in the 喪禮, 葬禮 (funeral, burial); in many relationships & situations.

the chapters 檀弓上, 檀弓下, 喪服小記, 喪大記, 奔喪, 問喪, 喪服四制, 服問, 間傳, 三年問, ... these are all funeral, burial related. have a read :(

i would interpret 哭 as crying, from "no cry" to "unstoppable crying"; from sob silently to loudly.

拜 as the behaviour from bow one's head, standing; to kowtow (叩頭), hands and head touching the ground.

the rituals were so complex, so, kids would simulate adults's behaviours as games. junior 孟 was playing the games of pretending one as the remaining relatives of the dead (with "proper" level of crying), or the one who salute the dead (with proper actions of bow, or kowtow).

aiiiii . . . .

  • Which rite is the right rite? :) 你不觉得在坟边哭、叩頭就是哀悼? "mourn: from Proto-Germanic *murnan "to remember sorrowfully" , Old Norse morna "to pine away"
    – Pedroski
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 23:34
  • all depends on the relationship & context. e.g., a new born is dead, their parents kowtow, are too much. or, an aged die (depends on region, maybe 85), the funeral would be "笑喪", then no need to cry. anyway, the term "哭拜" referred to the actions of "crying" & "bow - kowtow". Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 6:04

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