Monday, 6 April 2015

Qing Ming at daddy’s grave

Carnival like atmosphere at the memorial park 
On the morning of 5th April, the actual day of Chinese Tomb Sweeping Day or Qing Ming, we left home very early in the morning to beat the morning sun and traffic jam to embark on our first tomb sweeping at daddy’s graveyard. Along the way, it was drizzling, evoking my memory of Du Fu ( 杜甫)'s poem which was written during the Tang Dynasty.

清明

清明时节雨纷纷,
路上行人欲断魂,
借问酒家何处有,
牧童遥折杏花村。 

When we reached there, the drizzling stop and  it was carnival like atmosphere at the memorial park with sounds of firecrackers – I actually wonder, since when it is a “tradition” to light firecrackers during tomb sweeping.

Preparing our offerings. 
Upon reaching dad's final resting place, we laid out the food offering that mom and the maid had prepared for days, consists of mainly dad’s favourite food. After that, we took turns to kneel down to pray to dad, each with our on wishing. Then, we waited for dad to finish his meal before burning the offerings of joss papers and other necessities that we had prepared for him.

A layer of flour must be added to surround the josspapers to ensure daddy received all the offerings.

When all done, we head home for another round of prayers, and this time, to my ancestors as well as to daddy. Such are the ways we remember the dead and honour our ancestors. On surface, things look easy but there are many detailed things to be done and observed so that our ancestors are appeased, and they, in return can continue their divine care for the descendants, and to borrow the words of my dear colleague, Roy, put it in a more layman term: we have to take care of the top so that the top can take care of us. 

Another round of prayers and offerings at home. 


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