This work is the first detailed Western study of contemporary funeral rituals in villages in northern China. At a time of great social transformation, this work examines funeral rituals, encompassing the rites of transformation and the rites of disposal, and offers insight into their political nature. The decision of the Chinese government to mandate cremations and discourage traditional burials and traditional funeral rites has led to ongoing tension between the state and populace in rural China. "Funeral Rituals in North China" demonstrates how Shandong villagers negotiate funeral rites with the socialist administration to achieve a synthesis between tradition and reform. In addition, it assesses the impact of accelerated modernization, a commodified economy, and social transformation on village customs at local level.