Ming - a Grave-Sweeping Day
Ching Ming festival is also known as the Grave-sweeping or Spring
Remembrance Day celebrated on April- 5. It is an ancestor worship festival
native to China. Ching means clear and Ming means bright,
it is the day when Chinese families show their respect by visiting the
graves of their ancestors, clear away weeds, touch up gravestone
inscriptions and make offerings of wine and fruit.
Commemorating the Ancestors
The Chinese believe in cultural harmony and had due respect for their
elders as well as for their ancestors. The young ones are taught to pray to
their ancestors. Young people accompany their parents to the gravesite and
assist their parents in the purification ceremony of the grave. The "willow"
is regarded as the symbol of light and enemy of darkness in
Chinese culture, therefore on this day, the willow twigs and branches are
hung on doorways to throw away the evil spirits. The Chinese believe that if
you don't hang the willow, then you will born as a yellow dog in
your next life!
Ching Ming rituals not only include cleaning of the grave but also include
many other ceremonies.
The money is lightened for the deceased to use in his after life. In
addition to this, food is laid out in front of the headstone that includes
--a steamed whole chicken, hard boiled eggs, sliced barbecued pork, cut
roast pork with crunchy skin attached and the dim sum pastries. Besides
these the 3-sets of chopsticks and 3 Chinese wine cups are arranged above
the food to be used by the deceased.
The family head usually performs the ceremony, he bows 3 times with the
wine cup in hand in front of the grave and then he pours the wine on the
ground just in front of the headstone. The procedure is normally repeated 3-
times. Each member of the family comes in front of the headstone and bows
three times, families often eat the food there at the grave site, as if
having a picnic with their deceased relatives. Chinese have a strong notion
that by doing this, it will bring good luck in the family.