Celebrating Tomb Sweeping Day

by Joyce
(Shenzhen, China)

There was isa traditional Chinese festival on the fourth of April called Tomb-sweeping Day (or Qing Ming Festival). It was is a day to memorize remember our ancestors or our relatives who havepast-away. We have a three-day holiday from the fourth to the sixth. We had to go to Maoming city in the province of Guangdong province, because our ancestors' graves were in are there.

In the evening, on the third, my family stayed at the house of my parents-in-law my parents-in-law's house which was in the suburb of Shenzhen. My father-in-law would go went with us. My mother-in-law had to stay at home in order to take care of her pet dogs, cats and my daughter's hamster.

Maoming was is 420 kilometers away from Shenzhen. We hit the road at 6 in the morning on the fourth. The weather was not good. Mr. Sun hid behind the clouds. He didn't come out, even my daughter shouted aloud to say hello to him. We It took about 4 hours to get there by car taking the express ways.

My father-in-law's relatives, who live in Maoming, joined us at the graveyard. We had to weed and rake the dry leaves around the graves. We brought joss sticks, red candles, paper offerings like joss paper and paper money and paper clothes, firecrackers, a roasted pig, a boiled chicken, three bowls of rice, three cups of wine, three cups of tea, etc. We put them in front of the graves. First, we lit up the joss sticks and red candles. Then, we kneeled down and kowtowed (??) one by one. After that, we burned paper offerings and firecrackers. Finally, we put two or three joss papers and a stone at the top of each grave. We picked up the food and cleaned up the trash. We had a feast in a restaurant to celebrate Tomb-sweeping Day.

(To be continued)

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