Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Festivals: Sarikei Ching Ming Festival 2006

Sarikei 2006 - Burning of offerings to ancestors


Sarikei 2006 - Smoke from the burning enveloped the cemetery

The cemetery is not well organised after >50 years of legacy

Christian & non-Christian graves sit harmoniously as neighbours

(Pictures courtesy of cybreed.blogspot.com)

Ching Ming (clear & bright in Chinese or Cheng Beng in Hokkien) festival is also called the grave-sweeping festival. It's observed in April. Chinese families show their respect to ancestors & loved ones by visiting their graves to clear away weeds, touch up gravestone inscriptions, burn incense and make food & wine offerings. The burning of imitation paper money & other paper goodies is for the deceased to use in the afterlife. In modern days, there are fancy paper goodies including clothes, radios, TVs, cars, etc.

Ancestor worship is the native religion of China and that may have been the origin of Ching Ming festival. Buddhism, Christianity and Islam were imported to China. Confucianism & Taoism started in China but are philosophies rather than religions. In Confucianism, ancestor worship is incorporated as the virtue of filial piety.

In the 70's, the Sarikei Chinese cementery was more chaotic than what you see above. The non cement paths were overgrown with jungle foliage and visitors had to clear them with a parang (chopper) to reach their relatives' graves. There's an eerie feeling of calmless and a distinct smell as one stepped beyond the wooden entry gantry. After the rituals were completed, people felt a sense of achievement and dedication to their deceased relatives. The Malays have their own cementry at the kampung area behind Ngiu Kee department store but they observe their own customs.

Life is a passage and your destiny is the path you have selected. The Apple iPod is not available as a paper goodie (yet) for those mp3 suckers.

Click here to read blogger Cybreed's trip from Kuching to Sarikei for Ching Ming. Including the making of Sarikei Kom Pia.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey!!! Great post!!!

If I remember correctly, there is one small hut right before the graveyard where you can rest there. Is it still there?

And the legend of the beautiful haunted banglo besides the road hahaha. It's one of my childhood ghost story during my school days. oo boy.

Sim Y said...

Yap. Still there. That's at the entrance.

Daniel Yiek said...

Yes, Sim is right. The entry is still marked by that pavilion (rest hut). The newer Repok Road does not pass by the entrance anymore. You have to use the old Repok Rd.

Anonymous said...

Bring back so much memories here. For years I would go to visit my grandma grave. Always trouble me trekking along the km of slippery path. I remember one of my chinese teacher wife past away and some students including me lined up and said our farewell at the entrance there.
I actually served a funeral mass as a Altar boy with Father Ngu .We walked for Km and sprinkle holy , after they put the coffin down .
True story.............one morning about 4 am , Terence yii(Me),Ivan,Lopez son (forget his name)and my neigbour. The 4 of us decided to take Mr ignatius car for a ride one morning.We must be in form 3. Ivan and lopez son push the car secretly to my house which is 1 km away and Ivan drive took us for a drive.
Our destination was somewhere in Jakar but when we just reached near the entrance of the cemetary travelling around 60km speed ,we got spooked and left the road crushing 50metre into the bush. The car was stuck in the watery grave.....boy oh boy......We decided Lucas Hsu is the only person who can help us with his connection.........To this day I still have no idea how they got the car out . We all ended up in the office with Mr ignatius giving us a lecture.............

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