Monday, 1 October 2012

QingMing Festival (清明节)/ Tomb Sweeping Day

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

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

Roast chicken
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. 

Most importantly,

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!


  1. WOW that was so interesting. Thank you for shareing. I think I would like the chicken and pork best. But it all looked good and I learned a lot.

  2. We found that really interesting and loved the food. Have a great Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  3. Great post! Very interesting! Thank you for sharing, my friend!

  4. We always enjoy learning about the traditions of other cultures. Our human sister-in-law is from Taiwan, so now Mom is going to ask her about the QingMing Festival too.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  5. We love finding out about other cultures..but that was so meeeeaaaannnn. I'm on a diet and that food looked and smelt so yummy.. xx000xx
    Mollie and Alfie

    1. Ah, why are you on a diet? Forget it! It never works, hehe. Make sure you have some tacos on Thurs!

  6. That was great, we and THEM learned something very important to your family and about your culture/native home. Did my little lover boy Rich Boy get a belly full of food, you better take good care of him or I will be on a plane to get him.

    Your Furiends
    Susie & Bites

    Pees; Tell Rich Boy to find 20 boxes fill them we that great looking food, put them on a palete and air mail it here, like NOW, Mom & Dad would like to try it, and so would me & Bites

    Pee Pees: hope your Fall Festival & QingMing Festival was most enjoyable for you guys, your family and Rich Guy!

  7. That's very interesting! I love learning more about different cultures and what doggies do in other places. But, um, if there's any leftovers, you'll ship them off to your Blogville furiends, right? :)

  8. Thank you for stopping over on my bloggie and commenting! Your feast looked very interesting and YUMMY!
    Lovies, Miss Mindy

  9. This is such a great post. My son-in-law is chinese and we have learned so much from him and his family about their traditions. I love learning about different cultures!

    Thank you for all your kind words about Freddie. We will do anything for our baby. :)

  10. Thanks for sharing your culture. I had never heard of this festival before.


  11. What a fantastic experience. Thank you for sharing. We celebrated the Moon Festival with Moon Cakes yesterday. My Mommy #1 and 2 cousins were adopted from China AND pugs are ancestrally Chinese, so we include some customs in our lives, like Moon Festivals.
    Love Noodles

  12. I just LOVE to learn stuffs like this. Ooooooooh that DELICIOUS and BEAUTIFULLY Prepared FOOD... THANK you SOOOOO much for sharing this with us. LOVE the ENTIRE Post!!

  13. It looks like an amazing tradition. I'm glad you shared it with us.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  14. Wow! That's an incredible tradition! We've never seen anything like that before so really enjoyed learning about it! We love learning about other cultures and now we would love to try some of those foods we've never heard of before!

  15. That was a fantastic post. We are drooling. So happy Rich Boy got to go. Maybe he'll change a few minds about how wonderful we are.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  16. Chinese of all religions do participate in this ritual, without any conflicts.

    This wasn't the case prior to World War II. In 1715, the Pope, on the advice of several orders of Catholic monks and against the arguments of the Jesuits, banned Chinese Catholics from participating in or even attending rituals such as these. This had, needless to say, a disastrous effect on Christian evangelism in China for almost 300 years.

  17. Love Love your post!
    We don't have any Chinese here where we lives now, but where Mommy growed up, they had the biggest China Town outside of Vancouver and San Francisco. (in the west) lots of Mommy's friends was Chinese and she LOVED this time of year (especially the Moon Pies). And she really misses real Chinese food!

  18. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such kind words. We loved your post! Momma and I drooled as we read and saw all of the photos of such wonderful foods. In New Mexico in the Southwestern United States, we celebrate a similar ancestor day, called Day of the Dead. It is coming up soon and it, too has special foods and family traditions. Come back visit us again soon!

  19. What a fun celebration!! That food looks very nommy!!! Mommy says she wants some too!


  20. Again, very interesting, thanks for sharing.
    It must have been a torture for Rich Boy to wait all this time before tasting the food!

  21. Hey it's Jet here.

    Wowee wow wow, what a fascinating ritual. Thank you so much for sharing with us. JJ and I would need many more leashes and trees than Rich Boy to hold us back from the yummy feast. Mom hasn't had dinner yet, so... we're all drooling a bit. BOL!

    If ever you wish to share a recipe, we would love it. :) If you want us to select... hmmm... roast chicken, cookies with bean paste and the curry really got our attention. We do not eat pork. :(

  22. Mom Beaglebratz here - I just sent you an email - sorry so late. If you still would like some of the Livestrong art from our blog,m you are very welcome to use it.

    I'm afraid I need to cut this short - getting up at 5am to get to work.
    Kim, Shiloh'n The DIVA Shasta

  23. What an interesting ritual! And yes, you made Mom and I's tummies rumble. Really. BOL! Mom says she'd have a hard time burning up green papers too. :O Glad you finally got some food Rich Boy :)

    Waggin at ya,


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