For all my life, I think I’ve only observed 清明节 Qīngmíng Jié once when I was about 4 years old.
I have a photograph of myself as a toddler enjoying a pink cupcake standing in front of my grandfather’s tomb. I vaguely remember it being an excruciatingly hot day with lots of dried grass and sandy earth.
I may have joined my relatives on another occasion when I was bigger but I’m not entirely sure.
I only recall my grandmother weeping in front of my grandfather’s tomb while my uncles and aunts gathered around her in sombre silence.
After that, I grew up with scary stories of the Hungry Ghost Festival (observed around July/August) that I became confused between the both of them.
In reality, 清明节 Qīngmíng Jié falls in the month of April where Chinese families gather at the family tombs to clear it of overgrown shrubs, repaint the tomb stone, burn joss paper and sticks and also offer a selection of delicious foods, which would be eaten by the living after the event. [click to continue…]