This Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead! This year it is also the day Chinese people remember and worship their dead ancestors.
Ah Li brushed away a lock of hair as she looked up from sweeping. It was hot, hard work and the sun beat down on her but she had loved her grandmother so this was a labour of love. Looking like ants crawling over the hillside, scores of other people around her were also cleaning their ancestors’ graves. Ah Li had risen early to park her car at the base of the hill and catch the shuttle bus up to the stop closest to the tombstones. Soon, her parents and brothers joined her. They pulled up weeds, scrubbed off mould around the marble name plaque and chatted amongst themselves.
She thought of her grandmother and the times when she went to visit her as a child. Her grandmother had worked hard all her life and kept the family business going and even taught Ah Li how to worship her own favourite goddess Matsu. Ah Li knew Grandma would have been proud of her, not only because of her success in the IT industry but also that she was maintaining the family worship and traditions.
“Come and eat” her mother called her. After cleaning the graves, laying out food for the ancestors and burning gold paper money to worship them, the family sat together and ate spring rolls which her mother had prepared ahead of time.
This year’s Tomb sweeping Festival’s rituals were complete.