Saturday, April 05, 2008

Festival - Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008

A lot of overseas Sarikei folks go back to Sarikei during the Qing Ming festival 清明節 in late March or early April to pay respects to their deceased family members and ancestors. In fact some of them only go home for this festival and not for the Chinese New Year.


Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
2.5 Mile Graveyard near Sekolah Tinggi
Source: Halamanku



Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
2.5Mile Graveyard near Sekolah Tinggi
Source: Halamanku



I have blogged on the origins of Ching (Qing) Ming festival in 2006 (click Festival label). Qing Ming festival falls on 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually around 5th April of the Gregorian calendar. For every leap year (eg: 2008), Qing Ming will fall on April 4.


Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
Graveyard near the swimming pool, 3.5 mile
Source: Halamanku



There are at least 4 Chinese graveyards in Sarikei. The earliest graveyard (a small one) for Cantonese and Hokkien is at a small hill at 1.5mile Repok Road at a branch road, Jalan Ranyon 南洋路, just after Jalan Durian. The Cantonese removed the urns from the old cemetery and reburied them at a new cemetery in Bulat at 7th mile. The new cemetery sits on a piece of land that was a 40-acre old rubber plantation. This was bought by the Cantonese association from the Chen family of 廣合興 Kong Hup Heng (No.5 Wharf Road) for RM$40,000 during the time when communists were active. Sarikei’s Cantonese custom is to dig up the casket after a few years and the bones are kept inside an urn for reburial. (source: reader Lidasar)

My great grandmother (Cantonese) was the first person to be buried at Bulat's cemetery. By the way, Bulat means round or circular in Malay. What's the origin of that name?



Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
Graveyard near the swimming pool, 3.5 mile Repok Rd
Source: Halamanku


Does anyone know how many graveyards there are in Sarikei? You can see 2 graveyards in this post. Sarikei's Chinese graveyards are not well planned or organised like the paved grids in Kuching. In fact, the tombs in Sarikei's graveyards are all over the place and messy with overgrown weeds. If you ever stepped over a tomb by mistake, the tradition is to say sorry to the deceased.


Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
Graveyard near the swimming pool, 3.5 mile Repok Rd
Source: Halamanku



There's an unmistakable serenity as you visit the graveyards during the day. Some people, especially the older folks, will mutter to the dead as if they are engaging in a conversation while others pay respects quietly in their heart.


Sarikei Qing Ming Festival 2008
Graveyard near the swimming pool, 3.5 mile Repok Rd
Source: Halamanku



Life is a journey. Happy tomb sweeping, folks.

4 comments:

Daniel Yiek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Borneo Tourism said...

hi,

wow much more info about the Sarikei hope would like to know more in sarikei......nice...

Shi Zheng said...

ah Qing Ming Festival.. i remember it well... when i was still in Sarikei every year we will visit my grandfather's graveyard. It was tiring as the graveyard were not properly arranged... you have to actually climbed over other people's tomb to get to my grandfather's tomb. There was no road down to my grandfather's tomb at all because it is situated at the very bottom of the area... it looks as if my grandfather's tomb was the first there..

cooknengr said...

I rememer casket covers were used as "bridge". Was kinda sppoky duirng my young age.

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