Ching Ming Festival = Tomb Sweeping Day

April 2nd is Ching Ming Festival.

It is also known as the Tomb Sweeping Day which is similar to Christians All Souls Day.

burning joss sticks by pixabay
burning joss sticks by pixabay

This is a special event that all Chinese families.

It falls on the 3rd month of the Chinese Lunar calendar ( February is the 1st month where Chinese New Year was celebrated).

This is the day where my mother in law and her adult children plus grandchildren would visit our deceased father-in-law and grandparents in law at the cemeteries. ( 2 different locations )

 

the place where we can burn the effigies, money paper by peachpurple
the place where we can burn the effigies, money paper by peachpurple

 

Schedule practiced every Ching Ming

Wake up time: 6am

Reach at cemetery : 7am-7.30am

Prayer time: 8am 

Things to do: 

Everyone has to do a task for our ancestors.

  1. Tidy the headstones
  2. Remove the tall weeds and grass
  3. Light up the incense
  4. Burnt money paper
  5. Burnt effigies that resemble cars. clothes, necessities items,  motorbikes, cellphones, sandals, etc.
  6. While burning the money paper, we had to shout “huat ah !” which means “PROSPERITY”- help us to get rich
  7. Place real edible food in front of the tombstone in order to allow the deceased member to “consume” the food first as an honor and respect. ( had to wait at least 1 hour )
  8. Food displayed are steamed bao ( means to win ), roast pork or chicken ( means every meal we will have meaty food), dumplings ( to replace rice- means our rice bowl- source of income) and cakes or sweets ( means  happiness )
  9. After 1 hour, we had to pray to the deceased member starting from the eldest son/daughter, followed by the 2nd and 3rd, so on and so forth until the youngest grandchild.
  10. Each member had to hold 3 burning joss tick, clasp both hands together, kneel down and speak softly or in the heart, bow down 3 times.
  11. When everything is done, the food is shared among ourselves, either we can take the food home to heat up or consume there with ashes and dirt on the food we had prayed.
  12. Make sure all the trash are cleaned up before leaving the site.
heel money or money paper by peachpurple
heel money or money paper by peachpurple

 

Serving cold baos to our ancestors by peachpurple
Serving cold baos to our ancestors by peachpurple

The only disadvantage is the hot, steamy, weather. It is usually hot, dry and sweaty when the sun comes out at 8..30am in the morning.

By the time we finished the prayer and eating, it would be around 11am.

That is when my son gets very temperamental and shows tantrums. He can’t stand sweating under the hot sun.

I did tried to shelter him with a big umbrella but without any wind blowing, he sweats profusely.

Copyright allrights reserved and photos by peachpurple

Some photos by pixabay

 

School Holidays- I needed a short vacation

One of the shopping mall we frequently visited by peachpurple
One of the shopping mall we frequently visited by peachpurple

School holiday had started on March 11 until March 20.

Although it is a week of school holiday, my son is very , extremely bored staying at home doing nothing but playing smartphone game’ Plant vs Zombie”

Besides that, he had been bullying her teenager sister who was accompanying him throughout the whole week.

As for me, I am sick and tired of cooking 3 times a day for the whole week.

During school days, I don’t cook much, just once a day.

Morning breakfast at 6am, hubby and I had breakfast at the Mamak shop.

Then we order take away for my son and teenager lunch.

So, I need to cook for dinner. It was a breeze for me.

But now, I had to cook 3 times daily because everyone wakes up late in the morning and sleep late at night.

That is why I needed a short vacation.

I was hoping to take a short vacation , outstation holiday to get away from the daily household chores and cooking.

My son also needed a break because he is bored at home doing nothing but playing.

Furthermore, he had never been to the zoo, science centre, fun fair, etc.

The only place he had been was shopping malls throughout our nearby residence.

He is bored, so am I.

Dad was looking out for a budget vacation.

He is hunting down for coupons and vouchers with discounts for hotels and dining.

He had found a handful of cheap budget hotels and inns with discounts but no parking.

That is a headache. We needed a parking lot to park our car since we planned to travel by road.

Another problem is the booking date for the budget room are all occupied due to the school holiday.

Anyway, today is March 18, another 2 days, school is going to reopen.

Our short vacation dream is puff up into the air now.

Sigh!

Hopefully we could go for the short vacation in the next school holiday which is in June, 2 weeks of no school day.

Yes, pre-booking is essential but dad schedules are not fixed, that is the problem.

Question:

Are you having a short vacation?

copyright allrights reserved and photos by peachpurple

Top Superstition Beliefs in the Ghost Festival

 

310120145735
Prayer food on the alter by peachpurple

 

Ghost Festival which is the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar falls in the month of August yearly.

This is one of the well respected festival that all Chinese descendants strongly believed that Ghost Festival should not be criticized or ridiculed.

It is believed that the hungry ghost ( ghost or spirit from the dead ) are released from the Gates of Hell during this time of the year.

For generations, Chinese families believed that hungry ghosts are wandering spirits that had encounter :

  • unjustified deaths ( accidents/ mishaps/ sacrifices ),
  • vengeance
  •  the deceased body wasn’t given a proper burial ritual or funeral
  • sudden deaths due to unexpected accidents
  • When the Gates of Hell are open, these hungry ghosts started to roam ( fly or whatever ) on our planet earth.

During this time, it is crucial and important for living humans to be careful because the spirits or ghost are hunting down for living humans to replace them, something like possessing into the body. Lots of superstition beliefs are practiced and obeyed religiously.

Although we had seen such thing happens in the movies but in reality, this superstitions did happened to the unfortunate people.

Here are the Don’ts that you should avoid:

  1. Don’ts sit in the front row. There are “Getai” or Opera Street Performance for the ghosts and people to watch. However, those red plastic chairs at the front row are supposed to be left vacant. Nobody should be seated because these seats are reserved for the ghosts to be seated, to watch the performance. Otherwise, you may see the ghost sitting next to you .
  2. Don’t touch , step or kick. Watch where you are going during the Ghost Festival. You may encounter temporary alters on the road side, under the trees, near the drain or on the grass. Never ever step, kick or touch those prayer items offered. These alters are placed there in order to appease and respect the wandering ghost. If you had accidentally step or kick the alter items, quickly say “sorry” to it. You wouldn’t want the ghost to follow you back home,right?
  3. Don’t look under the alter. Prayer alters which are put up at home or temples are meant for the ghosts to enjoy the food offered. Do not bend your head down, looking over your legs because you may “see” the angry ghost eating food. Nobody likes to be seen eating under the table, right?
  4. Don’t stay out or swim. Avoid late night outings especially when the dark night falls in. It is believed that you might “bump” into them. Do not swim at night because those ghosts who were drowned would pull you down too. That is why you don’t see Chinese people swimming at night.

There are many more superstitions which you may find funny or disbelieving but one should not ridicule , make a joke about these myths during the Ghost festival.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

That is what my mother in law and my mom used to say.

Better stay at home !

copyright allrights reserved and photos by peachpurple