Tomb Sweeping Festival

Life in China: A Picture A Day, April 4, 2016 -Today was an official holiday in China, called Qing Ming Jie 清明, or Tomb Sweeping Day/Festival. It is a day/weekend celebrated by Eastern religions to pay respect to your ancestors, clean their graves, burn incense and make offerings. I’ve never actually seen a grave in Guangdong province, they are outside of the city. I have seen them when we were at the rice terraces (which is pictured) and also driving through the New Territories of Hong Kong. Since they are in the countryside, families usually pack a picnic to enjoy after tending to the graves. Nowadays, since so many people aren’t in their hometowns where their ancestors’ graves are, you can hire someone to tend to the graves for you. I thought it was interesting that those people who are specifically remembered are considered part of the extended family and called the “living dead,” whereas those who have been forgotten by their families are considered to be ghosts or the “dead dead.” The belief is that you can send things to these ancestors by burning a likeness of the object, so, as you can see by the pictures, you can buy paper money, houses, cars, games, jewelry and even iphones and ipads! My favorite is the package with Hades tea and beer! Leah took these pictures yesterday at the wet market in Dalingshan, the town next to us.