Tomb-Sweeping Day

We are so fortunate to live in the Bay Area where there are so many different cultures and customs.  And Colma Cremation and Funeral Services is so fortunate to be located in the midst of 17 cemeteries to be a part of all these differenct cultures and rituals.  Qingming Festival also known as Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day falls on April 4th this year.  This Ancestor Worship goes back thousands of years and is a key holiday in the Chinese calendar.  Hundreds of families will visit local cemeteries.

This is a time of many different activities tomb sweeping, spring outings and flying kites.  Tomb sweeping is regarded as the most important custom in the Qingming Festival.  Family members visit the cemetery to clean the grave, remove weeds and pay respect to the deceased with offerings.  Headstones may be professionally cleaned and repainted.  The favorite food and drink of the deceased, along with paper money, are placed on the gravesite.  This is all burned in the hope that the deceased are not lacking food and money in the afterlife.  Flowers are also left at the gravesites.  No matter how respect is shown, good prayers for the deceased are expressed.

Not only is it a time for commemorating the dead, it is also a time for people to enjoy the springtime.  The Chines believe that the spring outings not only add joy to life but also promote a healthy body and mind.    Kites are also flown during the Festival time – day and night.  Little lanterns are tied to the kite or the string that holds the kite.  The lanterns look like twinkling stars that add unique scenery to the night sky.  What makes the flying kits during this period so special is that the string is cut while the kite is flying.  It is said this brings good luck and good health.

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