Tag Archives: qing ming

Qing Ming and Tomb Sweeping

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Traditionally the Qing Ming  falls on the first week of April and Chinese will go back to attend this Tomb Sweeping Day every year.

The Chinese elderly parents will want the qing ming or  tomb sweeping Day to continue..to give an opportunity for the younger generations to meet and learn to respect the ancestors of this traditional culture.

Three months ago, the permission to remodify the tombs of my ancestors  was granted after consultation with a medium. An auspicious day was chosen and all family members are required to attend the ceremony.  

It was for a good  reason that  when  family members  come back to  pay their respects during the qing ming festival, the tombs being restored would prove that the dead are not forgotten by their filial descendants.

Under the medium’s guidance  the ceremony started with the digging of the graves to collect the ancestors bones with much care every tiny piece of bones and the skull of the dead were unearthed and placed into an urn arranged according to position and reburied into the same graves.

Another date was set for all members of the family to attend to witness the new tombs with the medium performing a ceremonial ritual..

Now the qing ming festival is near and all our family members have decided to return to our home near Ipoh on this coming Sunday and we will gather again. Our deceased grandmother’s soul would be pleased to have the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered at the new tombs -rebuild after almost 50 years.

Related article: Qing Ming festival is a time to get together

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Qing Ming Festival- is a time to get-together

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Photo by ChrisY

The Qing ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day ( All Souls Day in English) falls on Friday April 4, 2008

Qing ming is frequently mentioned in Chinese literature. Among these, the most famous one is probably Du Mu’s poem (simply titled “Qing ming”):

清明時節雨紛紛 / qīng míng shí jié yǔ fēn fēn

路上行人欲斷魂 / lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún

借問酒家何處有 / jiè wèn jiǔ jiā hé chù yǒu

牧童遙指杏花村 / mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn

English Translation

A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner’s heart is going to break on his way.
Where can a wineshop be found to drown his sad hours?
A cowherd points to a cot ‘mid apricot flowers.

Qing Ming is a time to get-together and it is a day to remember and honour one’s ancestors. Many who are working away from their home to return to join their families to perform qing ming to show of respect.

These days, Chinese families who visit the graves on Qing Ming no longer dress in dark-coloured clothes. The mood is more upbeat. People are all dressed up and even bring along radio for this outing as families come together for a reunion of sorts.

Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, josssticks. Paper offerings of material goods including hell money, big paper bungalow house with maids would also be burnt for the dead. Firecrackers are also let off to “awaken the spirits to receive the gifts”.

Most family members will visit the graves for this yearly festival as they believe their ancestors in return will give them health, peace, luck and prosperity. Some even hope to be blessed in winning 4 digit lotteries.