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True Sarawak Ghost Stories

Ghost Story from the Land of the Head Hunters

Qingming Festival

Published by Borneo under , on 9:17 AM


The Qingming Festival (also know as Tomb Sweeping Day) is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar.

For the Chinese, it is a day to remember and honor one's ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, (joss) paper accessories, and/or libation to the ancestors.

The rites are very important to most Chinese and especially farmers. Some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming, or put willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. They think that willow branches help ward off the evil ghosts that wander on Qingming.

Also on Qingming, people go on family outings, start the spring plowing, sing, dance, and Qingming is a time where young couples start courting. Another popular thing to do is fly kites (in shapes of animals, or characters from Chinese opera).

Qing Ming in Malaysia is an elaborate family function or a clan feast (usually organized by the respective clan association) to commemorate and honor their late relations at grave site and their distant ancestry of China at home altar, clan temple or a makeshift altar in a Buddhist or Taoist temple.

Qing Ming festival in Malaysia and Singapore normally started early in the morning, with the ancestral veneration at home altar- paying respect to the distant ancestors from China. This would be followed by visiting the graves of their close relations in the country. Some would take the extent of filial piety to visit the graves of their ancestors in mainland China.

After the ancestor worship at the grave site, the whole family or the whole clan would be feasting the food and drinks they brought for the worship at the site or nearby gardens in the memorial park, signifying family reunion with the ancestors.

Qingming itself was created by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732. It is said that because the wealthy held too many expensive, elaborate ancestor-worshipping ceremonies, in a needed effort to lower this expense, Emperor Xuanzong declared that respects could be formally paid at ancestor's graves only on Qingming.

Source: en.wikipedia.org


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