Friday, April 2, 2010

Ching Ming Festival ...4.4.10

Ching Ming Festival is an All Souls Day for the Chinese. Traditionally we call it 'Sweep Grave Day' and it literally means sweeping the grave for those that were buried. Activities include cutting grass, clearing debris, filling up with mud, retouch faded words with red or gold paint on the tombstone and offering food and necessities for the departed.

It is also a day where we remember dearly of the departed love ones, some maybe parents, siblings, relatives and friends. So it is a set aside day in the 365 days of a year to go back to our roots. This is also a Thanksgiving Day to all those that are gone, that they have given us life, nature us and making us to be what we are today. To some, Ching Ming Festival is a big thingy. They will prepare food, drinks and gathered paper monies, paper cars, paper house, paper clothes, paper handphone etc. Actually when I was younger, I was wondering how all these will work in the neither world. However as I grew, I realized it is a mark of respect and filial piety. Different Chinese people of different religion activate this day differently.

It is a big party day at the grave, as in group visit and merry making. This is a day that all members of the family gathered and given the hectic lifestyle, people actually hardly meet unless there is a wedding, a wake or on days like this. For those whose love ones are cremated, they will visit the columbarium or temples and preparation is the same as all those visiting the grave...plenty of makan. Many will bring food that the departed liked during their life time. Actually it is heartwarming to see all these people. It is culture and not superstitions. People who have lost their culture are rootless.

Therefore no matter where you are, spare some time to think of your love ones. Even if you are far away from home but when you think of your departed love ones, they are as near to you as where you are. People working around Asia will find time to go home eg. like Malaysian working in Singapore will apply leave and go back to Malaysia; people working in HongKong will fly back to Singapore etc. Given the cheap air-tickets, it is possible to go home.

I remembered a poem written by a famous poet, Du Mu(杜牧)

清明时节雨纷纷 Ching Ming shi jie yu fen fen
(Ching Ming brought in the rain)

路上行人欲断魂 Lu shang xing ren yu duan hun
(All those on the road were soaking wet)

借问酒家何处有?Jie wen jiu jia he chu you?
(May I ask 'where can I find a wine shop?)

牧童遥指杏花村 Mu tong yao zhi Xing Hua Cun
(The Shepperd pointed to a far away Xing Hua Village)

Ching Ming is a raining season and rain always gives one the feeling of missing home or missing a love one. Therefore in olden China there is no cars and most travelling were done by walking. In such heavy downpours, all alone, walking on a road where no one is at sight...the feeling is forlorn. So it is best to find a place where there is wine to warm the body and a shelter from the rain.

I like this poem very much.

1 comment: