Honouring loved ones during Qing Ming

31 March 2022
This article originally appeared on Melbourne Today.


Qing Ming is one of the twenty-four solar terms in the traditional Chinese calendar. In China, everyone gathers together to sweep the graves and cherish the memories of their loved ones come lush, lunar March. Not only that, Chinese people living as far away as Australia will commemorate their ancestors and cherish traditions in their own way every year at Qing Ming.


For many Chinese, due to long-term settlement overseas, the language and traditional customs gradually become unfamiliar. Therefore, whenever Qing Ming comes, ancestor worship becomes even more of a "root-seeking" educational experience to return to traditional culture.


"For those of us who live overseas, such an opportunity is rare. It is the tradition of our community to pay homage to our ancestors and cherish the memory of our martyrs." An anonymous reader said that every year on Qing Ming, if there is a chance, he will go home to his deceased relatives to burn incense, place a fruit plate at the grave, and pray to ancestors.

“对我们这些身居海外的华人来说,这样的机会很难得。祭奠祖先,缅怀先烈,是我们中华民族的传统。” 他表示,每年清明节如果有机会他都会回家给逝去的亲人上香,摆上果盘,祭拜先祖。

However just recently, the Chinese government has tightened its international travel policy and many return flights from Australia have been interrupted. Therefore, most people have changed their Qing Ming plans and can only honour ancestors through "cloud sweeping tombs" and "relatives and friends sweeping on their behalf".


Many people believe that the method of honouring is not the most important thing during Qing Ming. They would much rather gather at a peaceful location with their families so they can reminisce about the past and commemorate the deceased.


2022 Qing Ming is nearly here. Springvale Botanical Cemetery in Melbourne has the perfect, peaceful location for you to honour and pay respect to your ancestors in the Autumn breeze.


About Springvale Botanical Cemetery Springvale长青墓园

The award-winning Springvale Botanical Cemetery is located in Melbourne’s Southeast. Boasting luscious green, calm surroundings, Springvale Botanical Cemetery offers a reflective space to honour and respect souls who have passed.


This world-class cemetery is made up of 169 hectares of landscaped gardens and features three beautiful locations for rest that have been designed with the Chinese community in mind.


Song He Yuan is a picturesque Chinese garden setting designed under Feng Shui principles. With blossoms, grassy hills and botanicals, it is a contemplative place to reflect and remember loved ones.


New Song He Yuan provides a prestigious resting place, characterised by architecturally-inspired design and contemporary cultural references.


Lotus Garden is a place of calm contemplation, where prestigious monumental graves are seamlessly complemented by a backdrop of vibrant green. With lush grass and tranquil water, this beautiful, exclusive setting is suitable for those wishing to rest close to nature.


Find out more about Song He Yuan, New Song He Yuan and Lotus garden here.


Tomb Sweeping Activities 扫墓活动

Qing Ming is of great importance to Australia's Springvale Botanical Cemetery, where people come to sweep tombs and to worship and remember their ancestors. This year's Qing Ming is on April 5, Springvale Botanical Cemetery will hold various memorial ceremonies to promote and encourage the diversity of the Australian Chinese community.


During Qing Ming in previous years, the community will not only commemorate and show respect to ancestors by visiting their graves, offering food, tea or wine, burning incense, burning or offering joss paper (representing money) but also by sweeping the tombs, removing weeds, and adding fresh soil to the graves. Willow branches, flowers, or plastic plants may also be inserted on the tomb.


In fact, not only Chinese culture, but also other traditional cultures around the world have the custom of praying for the safety of deceased loved ones and hoping to receive blessings for the family. However, the custom has been greatly simplified in modern times, especially in Australia, because many Chinese immigrants often do not know whether these traditional customs can be implemented in Australia.


In Springvale Botanical Cemetery, you are encouraged and supported to practice these important rituals as we acknowledge and respect these cultural differences.


Ahead of Qing Ming this year, Springvale Botanical Cemetery welcomes you to pay your respects and honour your loved ones. A selection of traditional paper offerings will be available for purchase over the weekend before Qing Ming, on 2nd and 3rd April to help honour your ancestors.


Song He Yuan
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