Chinese families throng cemeteries to pray to departed souls during Qing Ming Festival

  • Nation
  • Monday, 02 Apr 2012

GEORGE TOWN: Thousands flocked to Chinese cemeteries in Penang over the weekend to perform their filial duties during the Qing Ming festival.

The main roads leading to cemeteries in Batu Lancang, Batu Gantong, Mount Erskine and Paya Terubong saw a bumper-to-bumper crawl.

Despite the hot weather yesterday, families were seen cleaning tombstones, burning paper replicas of various items and offering food to their ancestors.

Qing Ming, also known as the Tomb Sweeping Festival, falls on April 4 this year. It is a traditional Chinese festival which is usually observed on April 5 except during a leap year when it falls on April 4, and is commemorated from 10 days before to 10 days after the actual date.

Salesman Lee Tuck Ming, 75, said that besides paying homage to ancestors, Qing Ming was an opportunity to reunite with his big family of 30.

“Our parents used to like merriment, so all my 10 siblings and their families come back from Singapore, Klang and Butterworth, no matter how busy they are,” he said at the Mount Erskine columbarium yesterday.

Lee said the family had bought two paper lazy chairs as offerings for his parents for the first time.

“We believe that after burning the lazy chairs, my parents would use them in the netherworld,” he said.

At the Kwangtung and Tengchow Association Crematorium in Mount Erskine, businessman Cheng Ooi Hwa, 47, said he had prepared a paper bungalow and a car for his father who passed away 20 years ago.

“This is an annual affair in my family and it's important to pass this traditional practice from generation to generation,” he said.

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