Sunday, March 31, 2013

It's Spring Remembrance Day !

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I took a trip back to my hometown for Qingming festival. Among all the names given for the celebration, I much prefer to call it the spring remembrance day or Ancestors Day because it's one of the days in the year where we remember all the good deeds, teachings and the memories that our ancestors have passed down to us. Hey, face it, without our ancestors we wouldn't be here right now and that is one of the many things that we should be thanking them for.

For all those who are not familiar with this celebration

"The Qingming Festival (simplified Chinese清明节traditional Chinese清明節pinyinQīngmíng JiéPe̍h-ōe-jī: Chheng-bêng-cheh or Chhiⁿ-miâ-choeh, Ching Ming Festival in Hong KongVietnamese:Tết Thanh MinhRyukyuan:shīmī) Pure Brightness Festival or Clear Bright FestivalAncestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar (see Chinese calendar). Astronomically it is also a solar term (See Qingming). The Qingming festival falls on the first day of the fifth solar term, named Qingming. Its name denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime (踏青 Tàqīng, "treading on the greenery") and tend to the graves of departed ones. " -Wikipedia

Honestly, this is a first for me too. Before this, I don't think I've ever celebrated Qingming before. I'm a Catholic and my grandparents are Buddhists. Even though, we have different beliefs, I think after a person have passed on, the only way for us to connect to them is through a higher power as we're already living in two different worlds. Just because I'm from another religion doesn't mean that I can't pay my respect and pass on my thoughts and intentions through the ways they've practiced. I do think our ancestors would be glad to see us visiting them at their graves during this festival so having different religion shouldn't be a barrier for us to send our regards to the other side. Of course, we could still pray for them in our own way. Sometimes, the thing about religion is we will never know whether it's completely true or not, it's like rational versus belief. We'll never know the authenticity of it all  but it's more about what we choose to believe in, what we choose to hold onto and are we willing to look past this thing called logic and place all our trust in God. 

We started our journey towards our hometown at around 6.00am in the morning which is an one hour delay from our original plan. That was the largest mistake we've made that day. I regretted not sleeping a little earlier and getting my ass up earlier that day. 

What breakfast looked like. 
 Wantan mee
Siu yuk. ( I don't fancy the siu yuks in tronoh cause it has really hard skin )

We arrived at tronoh at around 8.45am , had our breakfast at the nearby wet market, drove back to grandma's place, unloaded unnecessary things from the car and loaded necessary things into the car that includes a steamed chicken, roasted pork, vegetables, 'chung' , 'fat gou' , a basket of fruits, a bottle of tea, a bottle of alcohol, cups, plates, an umbrella, joysticks, bags of paper money, paper clothes, paper iphones, paper wallet and paper glasses. By the time we arrive, it was already 9.45am -ish and boy, was the sun blazing hot. We headed on to our first grave to visit and did everything according to procedure. We cleaned the graves of all the weeds, prepare the food and joysticks for the ceremony, paid our respects, asked for blessings and burned some necessary things for them. ( which means everything that has the word paper in the sentence about what to bring ) From the moment I walked away from the first grave, I knew it was going to be a long and hot journey. Bringing an umbrella was practically useless cause the sun literally shines through the umbrella and onto our heads. Not exaggerating. They say Malaysia don't have seasons. Then how do you explain the weather right now? There's only two explanations, either blame in on greenhouse effect or it's currently summer in Malaysia. Is everyone excited for summer? I know I'm not and I think my three toned skin have become even more prominent now. Lol. Anyways, after the first grave, we've moved on to visit 5 more other graves and repeated the same procedures for almost all of them. Overall, the experience involve excruciating heat, sweaty overalls and dehydrated people that look like they're gonna faint anytime soon BUT it was a valuable experience and heat will not stop us from visiting our ancestors.  

Simple Happiness. Happiness can come in small ways like a can of chilled 100 plus and a cup of iced 'Leong Sui' after a day under the blazing sun. Not kidding. The coldness of the water running down your throat was the best thing that could happen to you when you're dehydrated and hot beyond belief. I'll continue this post later about my next half of the day. Byes for now ! 

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