Tomb Sweeping Day
Tomb Sweeping Day
The Chinese respect for filial piety and careful attentionto funeral rites is visibly manifested in the custom of ancestor worship. Sinceancient times, a day has been designated for sweeping thetomb and honoring one's ancestors. Though different in each family, theserites are usually performed on the first few days prior to or following ChingMing, one of the traditional solar divisions falling in early April, when thefrost retreats and spring returns bringing renewal to all living things. In1935, the government of the ROC designated Ching Ming as Tomb Sweeping Day tofurther heighten the significance of this occasion.
After Taiwan transformed from an agrarian- toindustrial-based economy, many of the older customs were gradually neglected.Tomb Sweeping Day, however, has retained its deep meaning in modern Chinesesociety, as the numerous families carrying out cleaning and worship rites atcemeteries during this time will testify. TheCentral Government Prayer Service is also held on this day, amplyevidencing the deep respect with which the Chinese view their roots.
Since most cemeteries are located on hillsides in thecountryside or outskirts of town, upon completing the Tomb Sweeping Day rites,many families will take advantage of the fine spring weather by going on afamily outing. These trips have become an important part of Tomb Sweeping Dayas a time for families to enjoy time together.
The foods offered on Tomb Sweeping Day vary by region. InTaiwan, the most common dishes are the distinctive " grave cakes"and junping.
Tomb Sweeping Day combines the people's reverence for theirancestors and for nature and is a reaffirmation of the Chinese ethic of filialpiety. Today, Tomb Sweeping Day is a time not only for worship and maintainingthe tombs of ancestors, but also a tangible expression of filial respect forthe teachings and virtues of forebears.
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