GEORGE TOWN: Chinese families took advantage of the weekend before the end of the school holidays to fulfil their obligations for the Qing Ming festival.
Despite the hot weather, Chinese cemeteries here were a hive of activity, the main roads congested with vehicles filled with families marking Tomb Sweeping Day when they spruce up the graves and tombstones of their loved ones.
Among the offerings of roast pork, poultry, kuih, tea, fruits and flowers, paper effigies and hell notes were burnt to secure a “comfortable lifestyle” for the departed in the afterworld.
For the Lim family, the Qing Ming festival is an occasion to uphold the value of filial piety by remembering their father, who died during the Japanese Occupation in the 1940s.
Lim Beng Poh, 75, said the family arrived early at the Batu Gantong Hokkien cemetery to avoid the crowd.
“We wanted to clear the weeds before offering our prayers. When our father passed away in the 1940s, we were not allowed to construct a proper grave and tombstone for him as it was believed then that this would bring bad luck to his future generations,” said Beng Poh, who was with his brothers, Beng Hin, 71, and Beng Teik, 69.
At the Mount Erskine cemetery, Tan Ker Swear, 81, was accompanied by his children, Kian Leng, 48, twin daughters Lee Hooi and Lee Hiang, 45, and grandson Loh Tze Yan, 13, to pay respects to Tan's wife, who passed away almost three years ago.
“My mother passed away due to old age and we have been observing this ritual since 2011,” said Kian Leng, an engineer.
Lee Hiang said the younger generation should continue observing Qing Ming as it was an important festival.
“You are going to do this when all of us are not around any more,” she was later heard telling her son Tze Yan.
Qing Ming, which is a tradition that has been observed for over 2,500 years, falls on April 4 this year and can be commemorated 10 days before or after the actual date.