31 March 2013

Qingming Festival in Ipoh, Malaysia.

A Chinese family gathers to offer prayers to their ancestors during Qingming Festival, also known as Cheng Beng, at a cemetery in Ipoh.. NSTP/Supian Ahmad

A woman walked between tombstones at a cemetery. A Chinese family gathers to offer prayers to their ancestors during Qingming Festival, also known as Cheng Beng, at a cemetery in Ipoh.. NSTP/Supian Ahmad

A man seen standing  between tombstones at a cemetery. A Chinese family gathers to offer prayers to their ancestors during Qingming Festival, also known as Cheng Beng, at a cemetery in Ipoh.. NSTP/Supian Ahmad

A Chinese family gathers to offer prayers to their ancestors during Qingming Festival, also known as Cheng Beng, at a cemetery in Ipoh.. NSTP/Supian Ahmad

Qingming Festival is when Chinese people visit the graves or burial grounds of their ancestors. Traditionally, people brought a whole rooster with them to the graves visited but the occasion has become less formal over time. The festival originated from Hanshi Day (, literally, Day with cold food only), a memorial day for Jie Zitui (). Jie Zitui died in 636 BC in the Spring and Autumn Period. He was one of many followers of Duke Wen of Jin(晉 文公) before he became a duke. Once, during Wen's 19 years of exile, they had no food and Jie prepared some meat soup for Wen. Wen enjoyed it a lot and wondered where Jie had obtained the soup. It turned out Jie had cut a piece of meat from his own thigh to make the soup. Wen was so moved he promised to reward him one day. However, Jie was not the type of person who sought rewards. Instead, he just wanted to help Wen to return to Jin to become king. Once Wen became duke, Jie resigned and stayed away from him. Duke Wen rewarded the people who helped him in the decades, but for some reason he forgot to reward Jie, who by then had moved into the forest with his mother. Duke Wen went to the forest, but could not find Jie. Heeding suggestions from his officials, Duke Wen ordered men to set the forest on fire to force out Jie. However, Jie died in the fire. Feeling remorseful, Duke Wen ordered three days without fire to honour Jie's memory. The city where Jie died is still called Jiexiu (介休, literally "the place Jie rests forever").
Qingming has a tradition stretching back more than 2,500 years.[2] Its origin is credited to the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732. Wealthy citizens in China were reportedly holding too many extravagant and ostentatiously expensive ceremonies in honor of their ancestors. Emperor Xuanzong, seeking to curb this practice, declared that respects could be formally paid at ancestors' graves only on Qingming.[3] The observance of Qingming found a firm place in Chinese culture and continued since Ancient China


Text source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qingming_Festival

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