Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Remembering the departed

Cheng-Beng

Cheng Beng is a customary day for the Chinese Buddhist to honour the departed, signified by offerings and a visitation to the graves. In equivalent it is similar to the Christian All Saints Day yet there is where it ends. Cheng Beng involves the descendents of the departed mostly immediate family members but often include extended families such as uncle and cousins as well. The first order of business would be to clear the gravesite from the overgrowth, often by paying the grass cutters which ply their trade during this period else more affluent patrons would bury their departed in the modern managed grave plots such as Nirvana which sees to all maintenance and provide for the rituals. Next would be the placing of gifts and offerings, mainly vegetarian dishes, drinks and cakes. Burnt offerings will also be sent for the usage of the departed, paper effigies in the form of appliances to houses to mobile phones are burnt. Incense and hell money are laid on the grave and the descendents bow and pray in respect. Before leaving, some of the offerings are distributed and shared among those present, sort of a festive atmosphere. Thus it soon ends and the graves lie midst the myraid identical tombstones awaiting for the next visitation. Taken from Bukit Seputih, Kuala Lumpur, where the graves of my grandparents and great grandparents are buried.

3 comments:

kuoksum said...

eh... u a lil slow isn't it... now is the 7th month in the luna calender leh... Cheng Beng?

narrowband said...

We have to bring home some of the food - the very same ones that we offered our ancestors. It's supposed to bring good luck to us, I was told. Heh ;)

Kervin said...

kuoksum: ayoh I've already posted for the last cheng beng but never used all the photos lah, this one I'm using for the weekly contest with the theme memories.

narrowband: didn't know that,not to conversant with the rituals anymore, usually most of the aspects are handled by an aunt while we just tag along to pay respects to the departed. But the vegetarian dishes and paus are always nice after a long days drive to Nirvana and back.