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Ghost Month, or Qing Ming Jie, is a festival meant for honoring one's dead ancestors and purifying the mind. It is on the 106th day after the Winter Solstice, but for the convenience of the people it has been moved to April 4, 2000, a national holiday. It is possibly the oldest festival in China, along with Chinese New Year, as ancestor worship is the only native religion of China. Confucianism and Taoism are not religions but philosophies. For the devout, this period of observation may last one month, but for most people it is one day or ten days.

On the first day, people go to the graves of their ancestors to clean the area. This includes cleaning the headstone, weeding the grass, putting fresh flowers on the grave, and the lighting of incense and the burning of fake money. In addition, food is laid out in front of the headstone as an offering to the spirits.

The ritual of food offering is very strict. The head of the household begins by bowing three times, sometimes holding a cup of wine, then pouring the wine on the ground just in front of the headstone. This procedure is repeated three times. Each member of the family comes in front of the headstone and bows three times with the right fist held cupped in the left hand. Some families will then eat the food together there at the grave site, similar to having a picnic with their deceased relatives. It is said to bring good luck to eat the food that was offered to the deceased. To me, it's just freaky.

Afterwards, everyone lights firecrackers to scare off the evil spirits of the undead. The gates of hell are rumored to open for a month in this period, and the superstitious buy wards to drive them away. The cleaning of the grave is symbolic as to protect the dead relatives from harm in the afterlife.

That's right hatless. I consider that altered enough. I copied the kow tow ceremony, because I don't feel like altering every word to make sure it is "original content". You know, even if I described it from my own experience, that is what it would have sounded like.

I know. From now on, I will add Copyright, DMan's Mom to all the recipes that she gave me. Please, hatless, fuck off and leave me alone. I'm not going to change my writeup, and I'm not going to attribute the source, because I changed the original enough.

Kindly remove the stick shoved up your ass, hatless.

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