SUNCITY

Honouring The Ancestors

The Chinese Cemetery in Suva was a buzz of activity yesterday morning as families and groups turned up to observe an age old tradition. Chung-yang is the ritual of paying
06 Oct 2014 09:33
Honouring The Ancestors
Marika Yalimaiwai(sixth from left) carries his son with members of the Jittu Boxing Club at the Raiwaqa basketball court in Suva on July 19. 2020. Photo: Simione Haravanua

The Chinese Cemetery in Suva was a buzz of activity yesterday morning as families and groups turned up to observe an age old tradition.

Chung-yang is the ritual of paying respects to ancestors by offering incense sticks, food and paper symbols and observed annually on the ninth day of the ninth month on the Chinese calendar, said Chinese Association of Fiji President Jenny Seeto.

“Chung-yang is an old Chinese tradition in which we come to pay our respects to our ancestors,” Mrs Seeto said.

“We come to the cemetery, light incense sticks and offer food to our ancestors before partaking in it and sharing it amongst everyone that comes to the graves.

“We also burn paper money and clothes as an offering to our ancestors because in our tradition we believe in the afterlife. By burning paper symbols, we are sending them possessions for use in the afterlife.

“We do this twice annually with the first one, called Ching Ming, being observed on the third day of the third month of the Chinese calendar.

“It’s also a community event where we go as a group and perform the ritual for ancestors whose families don’t live in Fiji anymore,” she added.

Mrs Seeto said the event was also a time for association members to pay respects to residents at the Father Law Home.

“After we have visited the Lami, Suva and Nasinu cemeteries, there’s often a lot of food leftover, so we take them to the Father Law Home which the Chinese community has a long history with. The home was originally started for elderly Chinese,” she said.

“Over the years, it started to cater to all ethnic groups and now there’s probably only three or four Chinese residents but we still take care of them and honour that history that we share with them,” she said.

Chung-yang is observed as a national holiday in China as well as in many Asian countries where Chinese culture has become assimilated and is often a time for many to return to their ancestral homes and pay homage to their ancestors. It is also known as the Double Ninth Festival.

Ching Ming is also observed as a public holiday and is also referred to as Tomb Sweeping Day, Chinese Memorial Day and Ancestors’ Day.

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

 

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