2015, our family went to Wuwei county to do Qingming
Write by LittleFoxLilia
Usually we do Qingming Festival activities at the place where is not far away from our house: drive to complex of cemeteries (around suburb, beside crematorium crematory) , sweep tombs, burn money, lay out wreaths and food to dead ancestors and so on. Before I was in Shanghai after my trip in Europe, my mom asked me “we will pass Qingming Festival in your grandmother’s hometown county, do you want to join in us?” I thought that was a good time to go for an outing, so I promised I would go with them.
On our road, there are ten people together: me, my mom, my uncle, my three aunts, my cousin sister with her daughter, my sister’s mother-in-law, and my grandmother (my mom’s mom, not dad’s) . So many people will go together, we borrowed a minibus from friend, interesting part is when I sat inside I got feeling that I would go to prison instead of cemetery.
Outside of van (minibus)
See, looks like I am in perp transport van, right? 🙂
Happy “prison” family
We arrived at cemetery after 30 minutes. In my memory from childhood, there hasn’t any changes. On two sides of road, many vendors built temporary stores to sell flowers and paper money for three days (Qingming Festival lasts from 4th April to 6th April every year) .
Today is rainy day. A well-known poem by Tang Dynasty writer Du Mu tells of a sad scene in Qingming of twenty-four solar terms: “rains fall heavily as Qingming comes, and passers-by with lowered spirits go. 清明时节雨纷纷，路上行人欲断魂。”
In China, yellow and white chrysanthemum, also red carnation are often be used to lay out as wreath to miss those who passed away.
Also there was a interesting story happened when my aunt bought flowers from vendor, a vendor given too much change to my aunt, but she didn’t pretend to nothing happened as before she did, she returned back more change to vendor and told me in secret: “it is unlucky that if you receive much money from those vendors who sold stuffs for the dead.” Okay… Q_Q
People in my city called there “mountain of immortal (神仙山) ”, this is what it looks like inside.
In Chinese culture, lions that made by stone be considered as patron saint can drive evil away, protect family and bring wealthy.
Tomb Sweeping festival born from Taoism, as we all known, Taoism’s originator is Laozi (老子Lǎozǐ – if you want to learn Chinese, pay attention on its pronunciation, in Chinese there has similar pronunciation with “Laozi”, it is “老子 (Lǎozi) (same symbols, different accents) ”, it is a kind of rude name to call yourself).
Typical scenery of regions south of the Yangtze River in China
Dragon also is considered as lucky animal in the heaven which can drive evil away, especially when two dragons in the water.
Because of burning paper, fake money, smoke is filled with all air, it looks like in the heaven in reality. 🙂 Additional, it is bad, not cool. 🙁
I thought many trees are planted to absorb dioxide and produce oxygen there.
This statue is called “Guan yin da shi” or “Bodhisattva Guan Shi Yin ”, someone prayed here.
What is Chinese tomb looks like: in the middle of tomb, there is name of the dead, on the right side – time of birth and death, native place; on the left side – his children’s name. On the main tomb with large Chinese symbols – “Work hard in whole life, treat others honestly 辛劳一生，真诚待人”, it is short conclusion of his life.
It is my grandfather’s tomb, I wanted to eat egg that prepared for him, my mom didn’t let me do it, because she said it is impolite to ancestor. Everyone came there need kowtow and pray your wish to forebears.
After kowtowing and praying, burning activity starts!
You can write ancestor’s name on those black pillar, then burn money paper, fake shoe-shaped gold ingots, fake special Chinese Money Yuan, dollars. Some Chinese will burn house, horse, car, beautiful ladies that made by paper. Once I saw a family burned real money, rich people~ huh? 🙂
These yellow paper is called paper money (纸钱) ,they are main paper made to resemble money and burned as an offering to the dead, this kind of paper is used for toilet paper in ancient China, but now, for burning to ancestors, I think that is interesting too. 🙂
shoe-shaped gold ingots
The Chinese folk religion teaches “burn incense and paper money to gods so that you will be blessed with good fortune.”
Smoke, smoke, smoke! Firecracker, firecracker, firecracker!
In the air many pieces of soot, very dirty.
On the wall, there is a banner in Chinese – “文明祭扫，寄托哀思，禁止燃放烟花炮竹！(Sweep tomb as civilized way, forbid setting off fireworks, bamboo and firecracker!) ” I don’t know why, but firecracker is everywhere, it is always forbidden in China, but you always can’t forbid it in real way.
Seems it is still very far to create civilized system and force people to obey them, against old custom, maybe there still has a long road need to go, it is really hard.
Left cemetery, we gonna to drive our destination – Wuwei county, to worship my grandmother’s parents. It is a typical Chinese poor village.
People who live in cities always are envy about people who live in villages in China, because they can eat food that they grow it by themselves, more healthy and delicious. Even Chinese divide chicken with two ways – “ 养鸡 (chicken are grown in farm in city) ” and “ 本鸡 (chicken are grown by village’s family) ”.
Underground, there are two coffins – my grandmother’s mother and father. It is old custom in China – use coffins for dead, we don’t use coffins in most area in China now, directly, when people died, we burn them and put them into cinerary casket. However, I heard that in some closed village still keep old custom to bury dead people, very complicated and creepy process.
We hanged purple and white flags on the tree, these flags are called “招魂幡 (Zhao Hun Fan) ”, it is for call back the spirit of the dead to take paper money and food. The best way to treat these wandering souls is to burn ghost money for them to spend and offer food and drinks as sacrifices for the ghosts to dine on.
Well, that’s our way to pass Qingming Festival/ Tomb sweeping festival, besides, kindly remind you, don’t do bad things in these days, ghosts will catch you if you did, also don’t call them, you will get answer! Happy Qingming Day! 😉