WARNING: Materials and Graphics are NOT suitable for those on A DIET . Not suitable if you are afraid of TOMBS! Also, this is quite a lengthy post. Read on at your OWN RISK!
I wrote on the Mid Autumn Festival yesterday (read it here if you miss it) and I celebrated it tonight with my friends. It was a very lovely evening...except for the fact that I got intoxicated with CAFFEINE from the tea, haha! Hence, this late-night post.
I learnt from a fellow blogger that Koreans also celebrate this special occasion and they call it Chuseok. Typically, they go back to their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors by visiting and cleaning up their tombs and offering traditional Korean foods (find out more here).
|Chuseok ceremonial table. Photo taken from http://blog.ningin.com/2012/09/28/5-things-you-should-know-about-chuseok/|
I found that highly interesting because we actually have another special occasion where we do just THAT and it is called the Qing Ming Festival which is on the 15th day from the spring equinox. Since this is Halloween month, I think it is relevant to share my Tomb Sweeping Day culture with my blog mates, hehe.
It is a big thing in my family, particularly on my mother's side of the family. I missed it last year because I was not at home (see photo).
|Qing Ming 2011. Who was missing? Hehe|
In 2010, right before I left for Vancouver, I was with my family to celebrate this special day. At that time, none of my cousins have had babies. So, technically Rich Boy was the first (four-legged) great grandson of my grandparents. So, I took him along :)
|Rich Boy was very HAPPY that morning. Wondering why he was on leash? Read on.|
Even though not all my relatives are crazy animal lovers like I am, all of them were very accepting of Rich's presence and everyone just loved having him around because he was so silly.
I said to my grandparents' tomb,
" Grandpapa and grandmama, here is your FIRST great-grandson. Sorry, he has FOUR legs!"
We always made a big deal out of this day because to show FILIAL PIETY is extremely important in our culture (Confucius' teaching).
Everyone was in charge of doing something. My uncles would usually come a few days earlier to do all the hardwork such clearing the land from weeds and bush, refilling the graveyard with more soil, if necessary.
|A nicely cleaned up tomb ready for some 'decoration'|
On the actual day, most people in charge of cooking had to prepare all the food as early as 5am. We always have A LOT of food.
It is a ritual for the dead but a banquet for the living :) so we bring our favourite foods, haha. Just kidding. We also bring our grandparents' favourite food.
|Roast chicken and pork|
|Fried noodles and vermicelli|
|"Bak Chang" (Glutinous rice wrapped with all kinds of yummy inside)|
|Cookies with bean paste inside|
|Roast pork chopped into small pieces. Rich Boy's favourite!!!!|
Yeah, now you know why Rich Boy had to be chained to the table, hehe.
|Fried noodles (close up)|
|Steamed fish (Yes, we like to eat our fish WHOLE)|
|Steamed buns with yummy filling inside|
|Stewed pork with eggs and tofu|
|Chinese 'sausages' and the roast pork being chopped up|
|Congee with a special type of pickled egg|
|Curry with a blend of Malay and Chinese flavours|
We offer food to our ancestors but we do not pray to them like they are God. Well, at least I don't!
|Our ceremonial 'table'|
I think it is just a way to remember our ancestors and to bring everyone back together to their roots.
|I don't know what the little flags are for, haha. Oh yes, to keep the paper money from flying everywhere!|
Chinese of all religions do participate in this ritual, without any conflicts.
|See the handbag and shoes? They are made from paper, intended to be burnt for the ancestral spirits :(|
|The final LOOK. Very appetising!|
We usually take photos of the entire family before the big FEAST!
|He was READY to EAT!|
|I love a big family|
But before that, we had to burn all the paper money/spirit money. I personally do not like this part of the ritual because it is such a waste of resources (paper, incense wood and real money!!!) and all that smoke is really bad for the environment. But I had gotten people very upset whenever I said this out loud...sigh.
|We had to fold all these paper money before the big day. It's like origami|
|A huge pile of paper money. They feel they are sending money to their parents. Silly! But sweet...|
|Some paws were getting ANXIOUS...|
OK, OK...and finally, we will set up CAMP right in front of the tomb and PIG OUT!
|Our 'camping' site. Mr. Sun is out! Need some shades.|
|Pineapple symbolises inflowing of Prosperity. The eldest son always does the honour!|
|I told you we make a big deal out of it, hehe. So much FUN!|
It usually takes a while to recover from this...
cos it takes A LOT of ENERGY to digest all that Food. Hehe.
|I think Rich Boy had the MOST FUN out of this day|
Thank you for reading! I love cultural exchanges.
PS: Now (yawning) , I am going to catch some sleep before reading all of your Monday posts.
Disclaimer: All photos (except the first one) are courtesy of my cousin, KK. She is my BFF!