Ching Ming Festival- Superstitions

Ching Ming Festival which is also known as the Tomb Sweeping day, is one of the of well respected festival

where the Chinese families sweep the tombs their deceased

relative of family  members.

This festival is alike christian’s All Souls Day.

 

Yesterday, we woke up at 5am in the morning, got ready, had a

light breakfast  and set off to the memorial park where my deceased

father-in-law was buried.

 

Upon reaching the park, there were many vehicles parked along the stretch  of the road, families bringing along little children,teens and

old folks visiting their beloved deceased family  members.

 

One thing particular about my in-laws family is; there weren’t

any school age  children nor teenagers to pay respect to their

belated grandfather.

 

Do you know why?

 

Funny superstitions which I could not believed in my ears.

 

It is compulsory for the sons of my father-in-laws

to perform tomb sweeping day  as  part  of the Chinese culture

and traditions.

 

In addition, the children of the sons are required to attend but

they would rather keep their children

including teens off the burial ground for superstitions belief.

 

My brother in laws and sister in laws believed that children are

advised not  to step onto the burial ground in order to keep

them  off “bad luck”

 

A memorial site is a place where the deceased are being buried which is  considered unlucky for children

to visit even to pay respect to their dearest grandparents.

 

Unlucky is the reasons but there are a few other reasons that

sums up :

 

  • Dirty place to step on
  • Unlucky to bring back bad luck home
  • Children might disturb the deceased spirits
  • Children couldn’t stand the scoreline heat under open air
  • Inconvenient for them to pee when required

 

 

Hence, since my father-in-law had passed away for the last few years, none  of his  grandchildren of his daughters and sons had ever  visited the memorial park on Ching Ming Festivals.

 

 

Fortunately, my hubby isn’t the superstition type of son.

Instead, he strongly encouraged my school age son and teenager daughter to visit their grandfather tomb, pay their respects

yearly.

 

 

In addition, he also asked me to come along even though I could not touch the  incense , joss sticks or

any prayer materials since I am a Christian.

 

He said that giving tons of excuses to exempt young children

from attending  Ching Ming is disloyal, inducing farther distance

of relationship between the deceased and the future

generations.

 

In the near future, our young generations may not attend Ching Ming festival  anymore after the big mistake that parents themselves

had embedded into their mind set.

 

Who then would pay respect to you when you passed away then?

Copyright allrights reserved and photos by peachpurple

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

 

5 Things to do on Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve, 24th December 2016, Thursday.

This is the day when everyone gets pretty excited to welcome Santa Claus at midnight although we knew that this is just a myth.

Here are 5 things that we did on Christmas Eve.

by wikipedia
by wikipedia
  1. Watch Christmas Movie
  • My family watch Home Alone every year without fail. Comedy and heart warming movie that kids and adults love to watch.
  • We don’t waste money on watching latest movie of the year at the local movie theater because movie tickets hike up prices and there is no offer at this Christmas season.
  • Most Christmas movies were repeatedly aired on Singapore TV channel but I don’t mind watching those entertaining movies.
  • My boy loves to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas which lasted for 30 minutes. He said that Charlie Brown is a blockhead, a stupid pet owner while he is a big fan of Snoopy, the clever, witted dog who acts like a human being.

 

by pixabay
by pixabay

2) Listen to Christmas Songs

When we sit down  busy  with own chores, it feels relaxing and in cheerful mood while listening to Christmas songs.

It gets you into the mood to sing-along with the lyrics that had embedded in your brain.

  • I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
  • Jingle Bells
  • All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
  • 12 Days of Christmas ( always forgot the lyrics after 5 )

 

White Christmas Tree in a shopping mall by peachpurple
White Christmas Tree in a shopping mall by peachpurple

3) Visiting the shopping mall

Our family would do this every year, visiting various shopping malls to admire the Christmas tree decorated with fancy ornaments and sparkling colorful lightnings.

We enjoyed taking photos standing beside the decorated Christmas tree, hugging the big teddies and listening to the Christmas songs played by the management. in the loud speakers.

Every year I could see different Christmas setup at the entrance of a shopping mall which is well-known in the town area. The grand entrance invites everyone from young and old to visit the mall for shopping and feel the Christmas spirit.

Unfortunately, our neighborhood doesn’t participate in decorating their homes with Christmas decorations because most people rather to keep low profile than celebrating in a grand way.

Santa Claus High 5 with a little girl by pixabay
Santa Claus High 5 with a little girl by pixabay

4) Get near Santa Claus

I was amazed that school age kids and toddler would grab Santa Claus pants in order to get their balloons and candies!

Moms would be holding little toddler hands to walk nearer to Santa Claus, catching a glimpse of this tall man in red suit and fake white beard.

A few toddlers were wailing, crying while moms pacifying them, telling the poor child that Santa is not real.

Once, my son asked me why Santa Claus was a black man because that particular Santa was an Hindu which I believed that he must be a Christian.

 

church by pixabay
church by pixabay

5) Attending the Midnight Mass

My dad said that only the holy cows would not attend the midnight mass at this time of the year. We happened to be those cows that moos at home.

In the past, before I was married, I did attended a midnight mass with my mom, dad and younger brother which started from 10pm to 12am midnight.

The church was filled with Filipinos who work in our country as maids , odd job laborers. A small portion were Chinese and Hindu families.

There was a cross with Jesus statue carried around the church. Everyone bowed down, put their hands together and sung the Christmas hymns.

The manger decoration was awesome that kids wanted to meddle with them but was forbidden by the church members guarding it.

Taking photos were allowed at the church, so everyone had a great time snapping photos and recording the mass videos.

What did you do on Christmas Eve?

Copyright all rights reserved by peachpurple

photos by pixabay and wikipedia

 

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Now, we do know that Santa Claus is not a real person.

If he was, he should had been centuries years old by now. 

Nobody is immortal on Earth.

However for the kids all over the world, Santa Claus is REAL to them because parents and friends told them the magical possession of Santa.

Santa Claus is coming to town

During Christmas, my mom used to tell me and my brother that Santa will bring us presents if we were to behave well , eat our vegetables and perform well in our school work.

There is nothing wrong for mom to tell us “lies” in order for us to be good for the year. That could save mom from headaches and spare us from the spanking rods.

The best part of Christmas was to believe that Santa will come down from the chimney, place our “desired’ presents under the decorate Christmas tree.

My brother asked my mom how did Santa is supposed to come into our house since it does not have any chimney. For your information, Malaysia and Singapore houses, flats and apartments do not have chimneys. 

Mom said Santa will come from the front door! 

 If you believe in Santa, then it is reality

I do admire the Europeans and Americans folklore who had created the heart warming stories of Christmas and Santa Claus.

These animated or real actors movies taught us that Christmas still exist even with or without Santa Claus.

Santa gives children the feeling of happiness when they hear the Ho! Ho! Ho! laughter.

Santa gives children the feeling of hope when they eagerly wanted to sit of Santa’s lap to tell him their wishes.

Whether or not Santa would turn their wishes into reality, that is another matter.

Santa welcomes all children all over the world, whether Christians , non-Christians, regardless of skin color or races. 

Santa represents GOD in children’s point of view.

Every child was told that Santa will come to visit during Christmas eve if he/she was a good child.

Naughty kids don’t get presents.

No harm get your kids behave well for once without yelling, right?

 

IMG_20151202_144030
“Great! I am out of job. All the boys and girls were naughty the whole year. No gifts for them. You can go for a holiday !” -drawn by peachpurple

Conclusion

My kids knew from the  start that Santa Claus was just a myth, he is not a real person.

They do see make believe Santa Claus in shopping malls giving out colorful balloons or candies to little kids, toddlers and babies.

Majority are happy to see Santa, asking for the candies, hugs and taking photos while parents became the cameraman.

Santa is alive and real in little kids heart. Now that is what Christmas is all about.

Do you believe in Santa Claus when you were young?

Copyright all rights reserved by peachpurple

Santa and elve was drawn by peachpurple, don’copy elsewhere, OK?

What Christmas Means To Me

Good evening or Good morning!

IMG_20151128_213148
two Christmas trees in a shopping mall by peachpurple

 

 

First of all, here’s wishing all a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!“

For the past 20 years, Christmas  Day had been a boring day for me.

I guessed I had forgotten what Christmas means to me right now.

The meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it in the first place.

Looking forward to Christmas Day

When I was young, my mom used to “force” my brother and I to put up a fake PVC made Christmas tree which the fake leaves kept pricking our hands. That is why we hated to put up the Christmas tree.

Mom always get ready the tree in mid November. She said to put it up early to feel the Christmas spirit in our home.

I wonder who gave her that idea??

We decorate it with store bought ornaments that she had purposely bought from shopping malls and they weren’t cheap at all.

Although I must admit that the ornaments were cute and lively, made the fake Christmas tree filled up with happy faces.

Among the ornaments she had bought, I love a fat Santa ball  from a ping pong ball, glued with fabrics and cotton with markings.

Mom also looked for empty shoe boxes, cereal boxes and wrapped them up with fancy Christmas wrappers that she had bought too.

Although those gifts were nothing but empty boxes, she said they were meant to put under the tree to make it seems a happy tree with lots of gifts. There were for display, not to be touched.

 

Back then, mom had a vinyl record player, a very old music player that plays her favorite songs such as LOBO, Paul Anka, The Beatles, Bee Gees and Elvis Presly. She even had the vinyl for Christmas songs and yes, never missed the chance to play these Christmas hymns, carols over and over again from mid November to Christmas Day DAILY !!

My brother and I went bonkers listening to these Christmas carols over the years. We got used to it that it became part of our Christmas celebration.

Now that I am married with two kids, had my own family, I do MISSED those Christmas days. 

My mom doesn’t celebrate Christmas anymore. She had stroke .

Share – Don’t Copy.  Copyright 2014 peachpurple All Rights Reserved

photo and drawing credits: peachpurple

 

4 Handmade Christmas Gift Ideas for Her

 

Christmas card that I had created - by peachpurple
Christmas card that I had created – by peachpurple

 

Christmas is around the corner, Black Friday is over.

You still haven’t buy anything for your loved ones yet, especially ladies??

Well, you fret not!

You don’t have to start your car hunting for the perfect Christmas gift for her now.

How about making your own Christmas handmade gift instead for a change?

You could save some money on the gas and you know, price are hiking up due to the arrival of Christmas Day.

Here are 4 Handmade Christmas Gifts that I had made over the past Christmas for my loved ones.

#1 -Paper Rose Flowers

Fresh flowers are expensive during this festive season. Getting a bouquet of red roses could break your piggy bank. Try making your own paper rose flowers with colorful papers and toothpicks. Arrange your paper rose flowers in empty mayo jar and tie a cute ribbon around it. I am sure your mom, spouse, daughter, niece, grandmother, will be delighted to receive such unique flowers from you.  Paper Rose Flowers Tutorial 

 

#2- Christmas Cards

Store bought cards are expensive these days unless you buy in bulk at an offer price. However, bulk Christmas cards consists of duplicated copies, plain designs or too childish for an adult to receive it. Try making your own handmade card with your own creation. Draw stars, snowflakes on shiny papers, cut them out , paste it on printed Christmas tree. Write your funny Christmas quotes for your special loved ones. Go sentimental, romantic or crazy with your creation. Christmas Card Tutorial

 

#3 -Heart Shaped Pot Holder

If you are planning to give a special gift to your mom, wife or grandmother, never give clothes or underwear unless you know her size! A practical gift would be the pot holder. Yes, she cooks for you, right? Sew a heart shaped pot holder to show your appreciation for her delicious meal that she had prepared all these years. Recycle and reuse old clothes , ribbons for the materials. Use the sponges from shoulder pads or washing sponge which cost a few cents in thrift store. Heart Shaped Pot Holder Tutorial

 

#4 -Santa Claus Bookmark

Couldn’t figure out what to give your daughter or niece? How about a bookmark? Santa Claus bookmark to signify Christmas Day. A special handmade bookmark would remind your loved ones to study hard, do well in school and to remind them not to fold down the pages when they are reading story books or novels. I hate dogged ears pages when I see one!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy crafting !

 

Copyright all rights reserved by peachpurple

all photos and drawings belonged to peachpurple

 

Halloween in Malaysia

 

Halloween is one of the best celebrated festival in Western countries except Malaysia.
This is due to the fact that Malaysia has majority Malay citizens who embraced Muslim religion although this country is a melting pot of various races.

 

Muslims praying at the mosque by pixabay
Muslims praying at the mosque by pixabay

Muslims Not Allowed To Celebrate Halloween

Malaysia top Islamic body had declared that Muslims are not allowed to celebrate Halloween in Malaysia for the culture is related to devil and Christianity. However, the statement did not banned non Muslims from celebrating Halloween in the country.

Although Halloween is not observed as an official holiday in Malaysia, this ghoulish and eerie event is still celebrated by non-Malay citizens, particularly Chinese, Indians and Eurasians who are great at party goers.

 

Halloween by pixabay
Halloween by pixabay

What is Halloween

Halloween is also known as All Hallows Day or All Saints Day to remember the dead of our ancestors and Saints. It is one of the Christian festival that is famously celebrated before All Souls Day which is held on 1st of November.

Yearly 31st October,  party goers  put on Halloween costumes, masks and scary makeups to attend pubs, bistro and other scary events held around Kuala Lumpur.

The city becomes alive, bustling with scary decorations,  spotlights, serve alcoholic beverages and  the best ghostly competitions.

You can purchase Halloween costumes online at Amazon for young, teen and adults.

Alternatively, you can rent scary costumes buy cheap accessories at costume shops for a reasonable price and ask your friends to help you with the bloody makeups.

no candies by pixabay
no candies by pixabay

No Tricks or treats

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to perform trick or treats from door to door for candy treats because nobody does it here.
In addition, it is unsafe for kids to roam around the neighboring streets without adults supervision.

This give the thieves, burglars, kidnappers, muggers high chances to strike crimes especially at night. It is unsafe and dangerous to trick and treat here.

Hence if you are in Malaysia for a Halloween celebration, checkout the events location to enjoy. Don’t do it at home.

Happy Halloween!

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originally written by peachpurple
photo credits: pixabay

 

Christian : All Souls Day – November

1st of November is All Souls Day, it is a day where all Catholics and Christians all over the world to celebrate solemnly (sadly) which is a compulsory event.

 

cemetery by pixabay
cemetery by pixabay

 

All Souls Day is similar to the CHinese Ching Ming where people pray for their dead ancestors, relatives or family members in order to remember them in their memories.

 

As for us Catholics and Christians, we usually offer prayers in churches, at home and visit the cemeteries of our ancestors.

flowers by peachpurple
flowers by peachpurple

Our family ritual

 

My dad, my brother and I used to visit my great-grandparents, grandparents (fraternal parents ), aunties and uncles ( my father’s siblings ) and my cousin ( passed away because he was ill ) before November 1st or 2nd.

 

My brother said that we should try to avoid massive traffic jams at the cemeteries as it was difficult to drive through the murky path which isn’t a paved road at all and to avoid hot weather ( he hated hot sunny weather that makes him sweat ).

 

Hence, we usually visit the Catholic cemeteries on weekdays instead of weekends to avoid the traffics jams and soaring price of cut flowers.

 

Expensive flowers and candles

 

Do you know that the florist would mark up the cost of each flowers by a dollar on these special occasions? They aren’t honest at all! All they want is to earn extra money out of us !

 

My dad and I used to buy 36 stalks of flowers from a Chinese lady florist for years. We have to visit 12 of our ancestors in 2 different cemeteries, one on the North and the other on the South of the state.

 

We would offer 3 stalks of flower for each person and 3 packs of white candles to light up with additional short prayers.

 

My beloved grandma

 

As for my grandmother whom we loved most and still could remember her in our memories, we took extra care by bringing along brushes, scrubs, water and soaps to wash her tomb stone and re-write the fading marks of her name on the stone with a red marker pen.

 

Oh yes, we also bring 2 umbrellas to shield the hot heat and 3-4 of 1 litre water bottles as my brother can’t stand sweating and my old daddy always felt giddy after the visiting.

 

That is how we spent on All Souls Day 2 years ago.

 

No more All Souls Day for us

 

After my mom was hit with a stroke 2 years ago, my dad had high blood pressure and my brother had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ), we had not done our part on All Souls Day ever since the illness hit them.

 

I can’t drive so nobody could take me there. I wish my hubby would but he is the superstitious type.

 

Geez, when will I have the chance to pay homage to my ancestors again on All Souls Day? 10 years later when my boy grows up?

 

…………………….

originally written by peachpurple

photo credit: flower by peachpurple

cemetery by pixabay