The fifth of April arrived so soon after I left China, I acknowledge this in haste. Today, throngs of people will visit cemeteries to honour their ancestors. The customs include sweeping and tidying the plot, if there is one. Descendants will make offerings of food and flowers, burning incense and paper money at the memorial. This is only one part of the annual QingmingFestival.
The deceased in urban China are always cremated now, so visits are made to the memorial walls. Only in preservation for historical purposes and rural parts of the country did we encounter actual burial plots.
|Monuments to Buddhist monks, Shaolin Temple near Zhengzhou|
We were aware of Qingming's imminence while there. Besides, one cannot miss the signs of regard that the Chinese have for their ancestors. Practices and observances are cultural, rather than religious. At any time of the year messages offering and seeking happiness (colour red) are posted to ancestors.
|Burial site at a farm near Guilin|
It is somehow comforting to know that such traditions honouring the dead are observed in so many widely different areas and cultures of the world.