Qing Ming festival is a day where you pay respects at your departed loved one’s grave. The day varies each year as it goes according to the Chinese lunar calendar. This year it falls on the 5 April 2014. However, it is an acceptable tradition for the families to pray to their ancestors 10 days before and 10 days after the actual day. This is to avoid major congestions at the cemeteries and temples. As many countries like Singapore are densely populated and short of land, most of the deceased are cremated.
If you would like to know how this festival originated, check out Chinese Culture for more details.
Now I like to share with you some photos of how it looks. Besides offering the traditional types of gold ingots and money, there are now offerings that include high tech gadgets to allow the afterlife to “catch up” with trends!
My granddad passed away in 1989 on Chinese New Year day. So on every Chinese New Year day, besides the celebrations, we will also offer joss sticks. These photos were taken a couple years ago before the 25 years lease is up. Now my family has moved and cremated my granddad and placed his remains along with my grandma who passed away on 24 March 2013.
The tombstone is very well decorated along with the Chinese Lions. There were offering like chicken, dry candies, candles, and a cup of tea with tea leaves, flowers, paper money, a box of paper clothing and many more. Once they had done the praying, one of them would toss the two wooden red divination blocks (cashew-shaped block) to check if he had finished his food. If the red divination blocks turned both sides facing the same direction means he is not ready. If the divination blocks are both facing different sides, it means he had finished.
After that, they would go to a designated area to burn the paper offerings. The paper offering can be anything from clothing, gadgets, cars, passports to maids! Chinese believe that the spirit would need these afterlife and the act of burning these provides an offering to the afterlife. If you were to rip open these paper offerings, in fact, they are just printed coloured cardboard. I know it is hard to believe how would spirit will be able to receive the offering and use it. It is not up to us but this is how Chinese culture and tradition has been going on for years!
Once again, I would like to thank my uncle for taking his time to take these photos!