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Ching Ming Festival

Ching Ming Festival

The Ching Ming Festival falls during the third lunar month. You can find the Western calendar date here.

On most days of the year, cemeteries in Hong Kong are studiously avoided but on the Ching Ming Festival, public transport companies have to put on extra services to them, such is the exodus from the city’s streets to its hillside graveyards.

Ching Ming literally translates as ‘clean and bright’, and this is the day that Chinese people sweep the graves of their ancestors. But the tidy up doesn’t end there: the festival is an important ancestor worship ritual that also requires families to weed graves, touch up headstone inscriptions, make offerings of food and light incense.

Traditionally, many people burn paper offerings at gravesites during the festival for their ancestors to use in the afterlife. The most popular of these used to be faux cash, but it appears the consumer demands of the earthly realm have crossed over into the hereafter, because people in Hong Kong nowadays also burn paper imitations of mobile phones, laptops, refrigerators, air-conditioners and even luxury cars.

4 April 2021