Local Cheng Beng or Qingming ( Tomb Sweeping Festival ) in Penang   3 comments

Cheng Beng (in Hokkien) or Qingming (in Mandarin)

The Qingming or Ching Ming Festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day in English, is a traditional Chinese festival on the first day of the fifth solar term of the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. This makes it the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, either 4 or 5 April in a given year. Other common translations include Chinese Memorial Day and Ancestors’ Day.

Qingming has been regularly observed as a statutory public holiday in China. In Taiwan, the public holiday is now always observed on 5 April to honor the death of Chiang Kai-shek on that day in 1975. It became a public holiday in mainland China in 2008.

In the mainland, the holiday is associated with the consumption of qingtuan, green dumplings made of glutinous rice and barley grass. In Taiwan, the similar confection is known as caozaiguo or shuchuguo.

A similar holiday is observed in the Ryukyu Islands, called Shīmī in the local language.

Despite having no official status, the overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asian nations, such as those in Singapore and Malaysia, take this festival seriously and observe its traditions faithfully. Some Qingming rituals and ancestral veneration decorum observed by the oversea Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore can be dated back to Ming and Qing dynasties, as the oversea communities were not affected by the Cultural Revolution in Mainland China. Qingming in Malaysia is an elaborate family function or a clan feast (usually organized by the respective clan association) to commemorate and honour recently deceased relatives at their grave sites and distant ancestors from China at home altars, clan temples or makeshift altars in Buddhist or Taoist temples. For the oversea Chinese community, the Qingming festival is very much a family celebration and, at the same time, a family obligation. They see this festival as a time of reflection and to honour and give thanks to their forefathers. Overseas Chinese normally visit the graves of their recently deceased relatives on the nearest weekend to the actual date. According to the ancient custom, grave site veneration is only feasible ten days before and after the Qingming Festival. If the visit is not on the actual date, normally veneration before Qingming is encouraged.

The Qingming Festival in Malaysia and Singapore normally starts early in the morning by paying respect to distant ancestors from China at home altars. This is followed by visiting the graves of close relatives in the country. Some follow the concept of filial piety to the extent of visiting the graves of their ancestors in mainland China. Traditionally, the family will burn spirit money and paper replicas of material goods such as cars, homes, phones and paper servants. In Chinese culture, it is believed that people still need all of those things in the afterlife. Then family members take turns to kowtow three to nine times (depending on the family adherence to traditional values) before the tomb of the ancestors. The Kowtowing ritual in front of the grave is performed in the order of patriarchal seniority within the family. After the ancestor worship at the grave site, the whole family or the whole clan feast on the food and drink they brought for the worship either at the site or in nearby gardens in the memorial park, signifying family reunion with the ancestors. Another ritual related to the festival is the cockfight, as well as being available within that historic and cultural context at Kaifeng Millennium City Park (Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden).

Inserted by SP Lim from Wikipedia.


Weekend Three: Hone Your Eye

Practised a few assignments as proposed by Josh R. and Team on the following:-

(1) Observe and capture an entire scene, but also zoom in within it. Stick to architecture if you’d like: capture the size of a building, but get close to record its details. Or, choose something different — a farmer’s market, a festival — and take establishing shots as well as smaller moments within the scene.

Tried all sorts of shots with different but at very low angle close to the ground I find great difficulty as a senior citizen as my legs cannot bend too much.

(2) Whatever you shoot, pay attention to what’s along the borders — practice in-camera cropping and train your eye to edit in your viewfinder or screen.

Always practised these technique automatically if framing and composition are all right.

(3) As you prepare a post with a gallery, try a different gallery type. If you published a Thumbnail Grid gallery last weekend, try a Tiled Mosaic or Square Tiles. Or, never published a gallery of Circles? Do that instead!

Here I tried the Thumbnail Grid gallery with odd numbers of photographs, it should be better with even numbers of shots. Square Tiles are nice but some portions of the photographs were cropped off. Also tried Tiled Column gallery and found it to be satisfactory.

There are several more albums that shall be posted over the week or two.

SP Lim
Still under training by Photo 101.

Blogging U.


3 responses to “Local Cheng Beng or Qingming ( Tomb Sweeping Festival ) in Penang

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  1. Such a wonderful tradition to remember the ancestors. It is easy to forget those before us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award – Stealing Quiet Time In Noisy Disorder

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