this morning we woke up at 6am and drove about 2 and a half hours up north to sungai siput, ipoh to offer our respects to the ancestors of the chong family. we arrived in sungai siput at about 9 ish and that was considered late by many, including my mil :) cos she couldn't get us to wake up at 4am this morning ;p. before going to the graves we had breakfast at a very quaint roadside shack (this is where the best food is served!)
which was situated right beside a wet market ...
the store owners gave me this astonished look when i started taking pics of their veges. one even asked me if i were a tourist!! ahhh ... the things we bloggers do!
after breakfast and my mil buying last minute stuff for the prayers, we adjourned to an auntie's place to drop off llara kaye and my mil :) usually every year, my mil will do the prayers with jason, but this year she's decided to chill at her sister's place with her grand daughter, and officially "passed the baton" to me to continue with her duties with jason ;) oops!!
such a quaint old house this is! jason and his family use to live 2 houses away from here. i think this must be llara's first visit to a kampong* house :)
*kampong = village
after dropping them off, jason and i proceeded to the gravesite, which was just a couple of streets away actually. usually the grave sites will be filled with tall grass (they just let them grow, i dunno why) but during the qingming festival, the caretakers would burn down the grass so that visitors can actually find their ancestors' tombs!
the festival of qingming (or the chinese all-souls-day) falls on the 15th day of the spring equinox, which usually occurs on the 4th or 5th of april, and this is the day chinese families all over the world would make their annual pilgrimage to the graves of their ancestors (usually the patriarch side). the festival usually begins a week before, so that people who cannot make it on that particular day can choose any day within that week to do their pilgrimage. this is the time when we gather to clean and sweep the graves of our deceased ancestors, offer them food, tea and wine, burn candles and incense and do a bit of prayers and worshipping.
we also burn paper offerings which can come in any form you can imagine ... gold and silver ingots, clothes and shoes all branded!, TVs, laptops, ipods, mobile phones, porche ... yes, and lamborghini as well, yachts, houses and even paper maids! we believe that "they" continue to live like us in the afterlife :)
of course we do not do the extreme ;p ... can you spot paper shirts all folded and packed like you would buy at the stores? can you see the gold-ish stuff? that's the gold ingots which my mil tirelessly folds bags and bags of them! what do you know ... my mil is a paper-crafter!
it took us a good hour and a half to complete the rounds ... cos we did quite a few ancestors today and you actually have to walk up a hill filled with tombs and find the right ones! we also cleaned the graves quite a bit.
one of the final visits we made was to jason's paternal grandma's tomb. usually the kids would bury their deceased parents together in a shared tomb, but in this case, jason's grandma was a christian, so they did a completely different ceremony for her when she passed and buried her in her own tomb, tho not far from where her husband was resting.
flowers, fruits and her favorite coffee :)
what an interesting day i had! my first official qingming with jason for his ancestors :) and of course, being the green horn, plus punishment for waking up at 6am instead of 4am ... it was deemed appropriate that i brought home a "souvenir"
we were right there ... under the 11am-12noon sun :)
happy pimping! :)
and tomorrow ... i'll be in pain!