April 2nd is Ching Ming Festival.
It is also known as the Tomb Sweeping Day which is similar to Christians All Souls Day.
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 )
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.
- Tidy the headstones
- Remove the tall weeds and grass
- Light up the incense
- Burnt money paper
- Burnt effigies that resemble cars. clothes, necessities items, motorbikes, cellphones, sandals, etc.
- While burning the money paper, we had to shout “huat ah !” which means “PROSPERITY”- help us to get rich
- 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 )
- 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 )
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make sure all the trash are cleaned up before leaving the site.
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