A video of a group of elderly people raising their middle fingers during a meditation session at a park in Shanghai, China has gone viral on social media.
The bizarre sight, which featured at least a dozen participants, was captured by Shanghai Observed sometime in October before being shared on Instagram last week.
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In the video, participants are seen standing still with their middle fingers up in the air.
Despite the intrusion of the person filming them, everyone conveniently maintains their pose.
It’s unclear whether the session had any specific goals for the participants, but group meditations among elderly Chinese are reportedly common in green, open spaces.
While lifting the middle finger is easily the most obscene gesture in Western culture, it does not hold the same meaning in China — at least for older generations.
The participants in the video could be practicing a form of hand mudra, a position that supposedly reinforces “specific healing states of mind,” according to meditation teacher Sah D’Simone.
Interestingly, the middle finger is said to represent fire, one of the five elements of the universe — alongside air, water, earth and spirit — according to meditation teacher Megan Monahan.
On the other hand, yoga teacher Kaisa Kapanen from DoYouYoga.com says that the middle finger symbolizes “akasha” or “connection.”
Whatever the participants were up to, many are thrilled to behold the moment.
Instagram users commented:
“Only in China.”
“The new way of praying.”
“I feel this energy, can I join?”
“These are obviously my people.”
“It means ‘peace among worlds.'”
Feature Image Screenshots via Shanghai Observed