The first of April is no laughing matter for me. The only one I try to fool is myself into believing this horrible month did not just start. April, forever marked in black on my calendar. The month I lost both my parents much earlier than anyone should. Coincidentally, it’s also when the Chinese honor their ancestors and try to make sure they are happy in the afterworld. A fascinating ritual you can’t miss when in China.
QingMing Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day takes place beginning of April and is part of Chinese tradition and culture. People clean and sweep their ancestors’ graves, bring offerings of food and burn incense and fake money. Nowadays they burn more than that though. At the graveyards you will see paper replicas of Ipads, cellphones, cars and other modern things that can be ‘useful’ in the other world. The Chinese believe that by burning these items they are transferred to the deceased.
Tomb Sweeping Day is not just a day of paying respect to the dead though. It’s a spring outing, a real family get together. After paying respect to their ancestors, they eat, drink and do other fun activities. In a way you can say they celebrate both life and death. It’s a nice idea, though I can’t see myself celebrating the latter just yet. I do like the pretty colored graveyards, it somehow makes it look less sad. Until we all meet again!