April 3, 2010

Ching Ming (Tomb Sweeping Festival)

The exact date for Ching Ming this year is 5th April which will be on Monday. But normally Chinese can visit their forebears' graves before the festival itself.

My sister and I travelled to Sibu to visit our loved ones' graves on Saturday. We would normally go as early as five thirty in the morning when day light breaks. It has always been practised this way even in the days when my other relatives had to travel by river boats and then walked all the 3 miles to the Methodist Episcopal Mission Cemetery in Sungei Merah. These days we can drive right to the hill slopes of the cemetery.
The moon was still in the sky when we walked towards the cemetery near Tiong Hin Primary School.



In the dim lights of dawn the young generation said their prayers and remembered their dear ones.


My father's friend Mr. Ngu a famous Sibu photographer with his family. He kindly posed for me. He had been taking early morning pictures too.


One of his relatives offering a joss stick and prayer for the dearly departed.


At another tomb paper money had been burnt in the concrete urn specially prepared for this purpose.


Candles had been lit here with lots of floral arrangements and food offerings including a stack of Leh Pian.

These days the young people need to bring these offerings and they can buy paper plates and cups already packed for this purpose in the shops in Sg. Merah.


One of my favourite angels in this cemetery.

Mr. Siaw came all the way from Singapore to pay his respects to his grandfather. He even brought a cangkul to clear the road adjacent to the grave. This is an act of filial piety.


A shot up the the hill we call the Henghua's Hill. The cemeteries in Sg. Merah are under clan and church supervision.



A view of the ST. Teresa Catholic Church from the Methodist Cemetery just before it started raining.

11 comments:

Ann said...

That Ajahari reporter, he hasn't changed his looks. Is he still working? He must have been your father's very good friend. I am not aware that friends visit another's grave.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Ann...you remember his nickname!! Ajahari 's parents grave is fairly near my fathers...so that is why I managed to get a shot of him...with his permission....I must get more photos of him each time I see him....it was too early in the morning and my eyes were still not very focussed yet....Smile...

Anonymous said...

If I remembered correctly (I must be right), his family was Catholic. But I saw them holding the joy sticks in the photo. All his daughters are like mother, very pretty. You would have taken a closer photo of them.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Hi Anonymous
Yes you are right...his parents must have been Methodist and then his children became TPK...thus the joss sticks...and I think Mr. Ngu goes to the Methodist church off and on....I am not very sure about this eclecticism in his family.
His daughters are indeed very pretty. And I think there are also many doctors in the large Ngu family.
Thanks for visiting.

Ghosty Nana said...

I just went to Heng Hua hill for ching Ming's purposes last weekend.

Ah Ngao said...

waa...the graves are mostly well taken cared of - spic and span.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ghosty nana...

You are Heng Hua? Many of the HH are very prosperous so they put up beautiful graves....

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ah Ngao
The Cemetery committees have done a good job. The living/younger generation do pay maintenance fees.

Ann said...

CY,

What is TPK? It is quite unusual for Christians to revert to other religion.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Oh hello Ann
TPK is Tua Pek Kong. I am not sure about Christians reverting to other religions but I know some have embraced TPK because they have recently found TPK more favourable to their businesses for example.

I know of one scholar who has become a Taoist after staying in Taiwan for a while.

Ghosty Nana said...

It is HH descendants get prosperous in bicycles industry. Almost all bicycles shop in Sibu is HH businessmen. :P