Thursday, 24 April 2014

Qing Ming Tradition

It's been the longest time ever, since I joined my parents and grandparents on a trip to the temple, for Qing Ming Jie (清明节). A time of the year, usually early April, where people remember and honour one's ancestors at grave sites. Earlier this month, since I was home with the kids, my mum asked us to join them. We did. For decades, my parents and grandparents had been faithfully doing this, and usually the elders went, rarely my cousins. I guess we are the generation of people who don't or yet to perceive the meaning of Qingming festival. Or maybe we had no opportunity of sharing closeness with the deceased.

The purpose of our trip was to pay respects to my great grandparents, a couple whom we had never met. Only at the columbarium. This is probably one of the deterring reason to making our trip yearly. We need to be mindful about our ancestors and the root of our origin. We may have branched out in different directions, but we are still that same family tree. Always remember: 饮水思源 (Never forget one's origin).

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Paying respects to our ancestors

Js are the first set of grandchildren and great grandchildren on my paternal side. It was a great opportunity to show them how respect and memorial is done. And I thought it wasn't too early to start talking about this morbid tradition. Js swarmed me with many curious questions from how a person gets into the little niche space, to the burning of paper money, gifts and food offerings. It was also where I drew a line between tradition and superstitions.

I was very cautious of being respectful all times, maintaining our family relationships and remaining our Christian stand. Over the many years, my grandparents and parents have accepted our differences in beliefs. And yes, they  honoured our faith too! Religion differences should not be a deterring reason to not participate in family traditions. Just trust our heart and mind for wise discernment.

QingMing could be a tradition under threat, with many youths skewing towards the western culture. It isn't too much effort to exemplify this form of love, respect and filial piety along the generations. All we need are parents who would teach and pass on the tradition. And of course, as time evolves, there are now various ways of memorials. From graves and tombstone days to ashes in niche or seas. Some even do memorial online! Tradition or not, I'm sure our loved ones will always hold that special place in our heart.

I'm blessed to have both my parents and grandparents still showering their love and affection over Js. Treasure our loved ones, always!

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