Ask Jun Hong, he knows it all...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sao Mu

Every once a year, during the Qing Ming Festival, I would go to the cemetry with my relatives to sao mu (bluntly translated, 'sweep tomb'). Tomb sweeping? I think 'tomb cleaning' sounds nicer.

I'm not a very traditional or religious person (I do not have a religion), I just do it for old time's sake.

I introduce you, my Ah Gong (Grandfather).



Ah Gong was a man of mystery back then when he was alive and not kicking. Why is he so?

Because my only recollection of him was him sitting on a couch, not moving, not making any noise. And naturally, he produced an aura of mystery. Well, at least that was how it was like to me.

Ah Gong's tomb is guarded by two stone lions. One on each side.


Cool, right?



Engraved on his tomb stone are names of his children and grandchildren.

Can you spot my name?



There! Circled for you, in RED.

We first had to clean his tomb and then decorate it with offerings and other stuff.


Nicely done, don't you think so?


Pretty colourful.

It is also in the custom that we should offer our already-kicked-the-bucket family members some, erm... offerings, yeah.

I, member of the Toh family should show you how we do it.

First, toss all the incense paper and the paper yuan baos (taels) on the ground. This serves as the base.



This is the first level.

Next, scatter hell notes over the first level. This will add on to the pile.



There you have it! The second level is complete.

Now, you should stack some paper items at the peak of this pile. Preferably, items that the passed-away like when he/she was alive.

For our Ah Gong, we gave a paper motorcycle and a pair of paper shoes. With so much hell notes we gave him, he can buy whatever he wants down there.



Done! Ah Gong is a fortunate dead man.

Lastly, start the fire.

And...


Let it burn...

Burn, burn, burn to hell! Oops, I mean to the 'spiritual world'.

Soon, the sky turned gloomy. Dark clouds were spotted. Comments like "O' heaven is crying for us!" reached my ears.

I was like, "Yeah, right. It probably has something to do with the air pollution caused by all that burning."

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