Perayaan Ching Ming – Kenapa kaum Cina sembah kubur?

Two parts – First part in BM on what is Ching Ming and the second part, my annual rant on Ching Ming in English.


Heh, mari saya cerita pasal perayaan Ching Ming. Ching Ming maksudnya Jernih dan Terang. Hari Ching Ming biasanya jatuh pada bulan April, haribulan 4. Kebanyakkan perayaan Cina mengikut kalendar bulan Cina tetapi Ching Ming mengikut kalendar matahari (hahaha, gregorian calendar?).

Colourful paper flags on a Chinese grave
(kubur dibersihkan dan dihiasi dengan kertas-kertas berwarna-warni melambangkan kesetiaan anak-anak, cucu-cicit kepada simati)

Perayaan Ching Ming boleh diamalkan sepuluh hari sebelum April 4 dan sepuluh hari selepas April 4. Ini bermakna kaum Cina ada dua puluh hari untuk menunaikan tanggungjawab mereka. Tanggung jawab apa? Tanggung jawab memberi kerhormatan dan peringatan kepada nenek-moyang, ibu-bapa dan ahli-ahli tersayang yang telah meninggal dunia.

Satu perkara yang mengelirukan kaum-kaum lain adalah kepelikan (weird?) melihat rumah-rumah kertas, kereta kertas, barang-barang kertas dan juga wang-wang kertas yang biasanya dibakar. Sebelum kita melabelkan ini sebagai kepercayaan syirik (believe in the ‘other world), mungkin ada baiknya kita memahami rasional setengah kaum Cina ini.

chinese grave
(minuman dan makanan kegemaran simati dibawa dan disembahkan)

Tidak semua kaum Cina mengamalkan kepercayaan sebegini. Kaum Cina yang beragama Kristian (Katolik) biasanya mempunyai hari All Souls Day (hari roh?) yang jatuh pada 2hb November di mana mereka juga pergi ke kubur untuk membersihkannya dan memberi peringatan. Jadi kaum Cina yang beragama Kristian mungkin juga pergi ke kubur ibu-bapa/moyang mereka yang bukan beragama Kristian dan memberi hormat dengan membawa sejambak bunga.

god of the earth
(orang tua ini adalah dipercayakan menjaga ‘pintu masuk’ ke dunia, jadi wajar meminta kebenarannya untuk memberi ‘pas keluar’ kepada si mati untuk keluar dan menghayati makanan yang disembah)

Kaum Cina yang bergama Buddha juga tidak mengamalkan kepercayaan membakar rumah kertas, wang kertas dan menyembah makanan dan kueh-mueh.

Kaum Cina beragama Kristian percaya roh-roh mereka yang telah meninggal dunia telah di tempatkan di syurga atau neraka. Kaum Buddah pulak percaya roh-roh itu telah di….(eheh, how to say rebirth ah?).

food hamper for the dead
(macam-macam ada….ini adalah ‘hamper’ yang mengandungi ‘makanan’. Sebenarnya, ia cuma dibuat dari kertas)

Tetapi kaum Cina yang beragama campuran Taoist dan Buddha, mempunyai kepercayaan bahawa hidup atau mati, mereka terus bertanggungjawab menjaga makan-minum ahli keluarga yang telah mati. Ini adalah sebagai tanda sayang kepada yang telah mati dan bukannya kepercayaan hantu.

Tidak dinafikan bahawa memang ada sesetengah pihak yang menyembah hantu dan roh-roh dengan niat mendapat kekayaan. Tetapi majoriti kaum Cina yang menyembah kubur ini adalah dengan niat murni untuk terus mengingati ahli keluarga yang telah mati.


Pendekata, tujuan utama Ching Ming adalah untuk ahli keluarga semua berkumpul dan mengeratkan tali persaudaraan mereka sambil mengingati nenek atau datuk mereka.


Jadi, saya harap semua orang kini faham tujuan sebenar sesetengah kaum Cina menyembah kubur.


Bwahahaha…terror leh? Anyway, Ching Ming is on 4th April and people start to honour their deceased relatives already. Me? I stop being so gungho about it nowadays because once your own son died, the rest seems less important. If I believe my son is with Christ in Heaven, I believe my parents and parents-in-law are in Heaven too. So, sorry lah, I sleep lah. No waking up at 5am to cook dishes and rice and bring roasted pig to graves for me.

(you will never go thirsty in the underworld)

I have this joke with my husband. Don’t read if you are easily offended with religious talk. He is the blur sotong who cannot seems to remember how many kuehs and how many fruits to buy. Before my son died, I used to handle and organize the whole nine yards of Ching Ming including cooking all the dishes, prepare the tea and etc etc for my parents-in-law. I am an expert, btw, when it comes to praying the Chinese way.

The duty now falls on him. I got four sisters-in-law who are terribly latah (panicky) with all the do’s and don’ts but they are daughters. Daughters don’t have much ‘power’ when this thing is concerned. Kehkehkeh, in fact, my mother-in-law ‘ordered’ me that I must carry on the task of praying the great-grandparents, grand-parents and bachelor uncle graves. *slaps forehead, that are four graves in four corners of the island, wokay?”

(phua chu kang that we hired to clear the jungle that surrounds my atm’s great-grandparents grave)

So, hubby will asked, “Eh, how many plates of kueh (local cakes) must I buy already?”

Then, jokingly I will tell him, in between giggles, “Sorry, hor, it is against my principles to tell you that you need five pieces of kueh and five fruits for your grandpa’s grave and three each for the thor tay kong (the pak guard who manned the underworld). Because hor, my Yehsou said Heaven is like Club Med with overflowing buffet. Their kuehs better than our kueh koci lah.”

We will be doing this silly talk, repeated over again and again. He will ask, “Aiyar, tomorrow I wonder if I can get ‘seng lay’ the duck/chicken from the market…”

And I will reply, “Sorry hor, it is against my principles to tell you that the market start selling as early as 6 am…because my Yehsou says….”

Then, it will be something like, he said, “Aiyah, I forgot to buy the teacups…”

And my reply, “Sorry hor, it is against my principles to tell you…”

Anyway, they are having the Ching Ming on school days to accomodate the schedules of my atm 8 siblings. So my children and I won’t be joining. I told my hubby, “Let’s hold it in the afternoon. The main point is to get your sons to participate so that they will carry on this tradition next time. By going at 6 am in the morning, and to suit your siblings, it defeats the purpose because the next generation won’t be able to participate.” You say correct or not? Hoi! #2 son? How about we meng-Kristian kan the whole thingie next time? Bring flowers, say prayers, clear the graves, put papers, minus the fuss of how many kuehs, how many fruits? We do it afternoon so that no need to wake at 5 am and trudge uphill on wet grass and feed hungry mosquitoes breakfast. *evil grins*

chinese grave offerings
(picnic for the dead)

Ultimately – Remembering our deceased loved ones is good and compulsory.

But being too engrossed with the rituals can water down the whole purpose. I dislike hearing, “Ah Kong, we pray you, you bless us with prosperity.” Eh, leave the old man alone lah. Die liao, somemore must still jaga your prosperity meh? And do you know that some Chinese dialect group don’t even allow the daughters to go to the graves? Also got wife quarrel with the sisters-in-law because the wife brought pears to offer. Pear = peh = scrape all the prosperity to one side. LOL.

Anyway, Happy Ching Ming.

28 thoughts on “Perayaan Ching Ming – Kenapa kaum Cina sembah kubur?

  1. I’ve never visited my maternal grand parents graves because of the stupid “kolot” belief of my mom’s siblings that once the daughters are married, they can’t visit their parent’s graves for fear of spreading thin the blessings from the dead which they think should rightfully only be given to those who carry the family name… I feel so bad for my mom… imagine not being “allowed” to visit your parents grave! Rubbish tradition

  2. Rebirth = Kitar semula????? Bwahahahaha!!!

    What also they have made from paper for Ching Ming. I guess the cost of living, err… the cost of the living dead is very high. The denomination on the Hell Bank Note is 10000000000 and ppl offer few stacks. Hor???

  3. terence – Yayaya, kitar semula. I dare not say, later kena tiu. Eh, inflation lah. They don’t have good finance minister there, all the good ones went to Heaven liao, so left corrupted ones only mah. Prices of things mah increase lor. *laughing with Terence at our stupid jokes*

    hermanc – Your mother from Fuchow’s clan? Hahaha, usually the Foochow or Hockchiew and the Teochew very particular about this distribution of wealth. I don’t care wan, my sisters-in-laws want to sembahyang, mah go all they want. Save me the trouble. Hahaha.

  4. Ah Lian > me still got to go Cheng Beng la but all Invited > Men Women Boys or Girls > Open Invitations > Offerings also in moderations but also up to individual .Anyway its the sincerity that matters most and the respect too .

  5. lilian .. agree with aaron tan .. rebirth to be lahir semula. or to be exact, lahir semula ke kehidupan yang baru as buddhists believe that when a person passes away, he/she will be reborn again in either the same/different form of existence.

  6. haha based on one drama i watched hor, the reason why there is extreme inflation rate in Chinese Hell because the deceased often use their banknotes to exchange prosperity for their families on earth. Hence the Hell king jacked up the taxation rate for prosperity blessings because he does not want the spirits to be associated with those on earth too much. Work of fiction, but this theory is interesting.

  7. Hmmm…if the dead is already recycled…err..I mean reborn, why even bother burning all those paper stuff for them? Isn’t that just polluting the air?
    Now, before devout Taoists/Buddhists start giving me hell for this comment, think about it. Shouldn’t the respect and honour be given when they are alive and not when they are six foot under (or 18 levels under – if Chinese lores are to be believed)?
    By the way, I am Buddhist and I do believe in reincarnation.

  8. Wah Lau! Your readers soooo serious one. Of course we know rebirth is lahir semula lah. Take life with a pinch of salt. With humour, there is laughter. With laughter, there is happiness.

    Hence the tagline of this blog; Life, Lies, Sex, Humor of a Malaysian blogger. Peace!!!

  9. lawrence – Gua taktau. šŸ˜›

    sensei terence – You are veli wise…sinchoi, sinchoi.

    foong – They have their reasons leh..

    anthraxxxx – Not fair wei. No wonder the rich gets richer hor? The more they burn, the richer they get. Hahaha.

    mirage – Hahaha, this is something that I can never understand. That means, the total numbers of ants, humans dan lain-lain remains constant and hence, it is one form after another lah?

    aaron – I know lah, but try telling lahir semula to a non-Chinese, non-Buddhist and they will say, “eh giler ke?” That’s why I rather don’t give a term to it. Since this post is in BM, you know whom I target lah.

    kew – Yeah, hell is fun all the time. Got sexy bras and panties on sale too. So, phweet…go to hell, got lots of sexy gurlzzz there.

    BEH – Ya, got ‘sim’ can ledi.

  10. lilian – errm, will be a long story ler. this gonna be a little long winded .. hahaha. don’t quote me. i’m just someone interested in the reading up on religious practices (to me it’s a very interesting topic). well, logically, the number should not be constant. see, from the perspective of buddhism, the ultimate goal is to get out of the wheel of rebirth(or the wheel of suffering). so as long as the beings still have not achieve full enlightenment (nirvana), then I would agree that those beings are ‘recycleable’ in the world(haha .. gee i like the word recycle here). again, there should be a point when beings finally reach the state of nirvana which is where the total cessation of existence happens(so, this is when the number will drop). and the difference in form is dependent on karma (laymen term as cause & effect)

    lawrence – if from buddhism term, rebirth is suffering. Nirvana is supposed to be the state of total cessation of suffering = no more rebirth.

    well, generally I think a lot of people wrong classify themselves as Buddhist lah, just my thought lah. Taoist are the one usually doing the burning .. Buddhist don’t.

    to me, most important thing is the thought that counts. if you’re talking about passed away relative, i think treat people nicely when alive more meaningful right? at least they can feel & remember it. it becomes their happy memories during their passing away. whatever done after that, rather meaningless.

    anyway, don’t shoot me ar .. hahahaha. if there is shooting, i’m sure this post will be an endless one, right lilian?

  11. Ah, didn’t know Penang buddhist-Taoist have so many rules. I’m from Klang and it has been long time my family only pray with light fruits and flowers. I actually miss it bcos it was the time some family members gather together, including my uncle who lives far away. It actually helps improve the relationship between family. I had good time with my father while visiting my grandparents’ graves.

    Some of the French here are very interested about the concept of reincarnation. I was told that we can be incarnated into anything, including animal. But other Buddhist told me that human can only rebirth as human. Very confusing lah.

  12. Im not chinese but i’m married to one. Since hubby’s grandma pass away few years ago..I follow him balik kampung pigi sembayang..But my God is always Jesus.. so i don’t follow any prayer for the dead lah.. just see need to lift up my hand pun! hehe

  13. Reincarnation – I suppose it has parallels with the First Law of Thermodynamics. At least as a scientist and a Hindu, I tend to think like that!

    “..the law of conservation of energy states that energy(hence matter – if Einstein is right) can not be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another…

    Anyway, who am I to argue with Pythagoras?

  14. Sorry folks.. No such thing as Reincarnation… as much as we like to think so…anyway why come back to this world?

  15. Wakakaka!!! Died before. If he died before and came back to comment means got reincarnation lah.

    Thats why. People tend to talk on issues like they know everything. Sigh………

  16. Dear Lilian,

    Just to clarify.

    Syirik, or shirk, does not mean ‘believe in the other world.’

    It actually means ‘polytheism’ or attributing a partner to God. There is a short verse in the Qur’an which goes (a translation of the chapter):-

    “Say: He is Allah, the One and Only;
    Allah, the Eternal, Absolute;
    He begetteth not, nor is He begotten;
    And there is none like unto Him.” (Chapter 112 – Sincerity)

    To commit shirk/syirik in Islaam is a major sin, and the opposite of that is “monotheism.”

    In Islaam we believe that there is only one God worthy of worship, that is Allaah. We worship Him Alone, and not his creations. We are not to give to God the attributes of His creation and neither are we to give the attributes of God’s creation to Him. Only God has the power to do anything, and only if He allows it to happen.

    A hadith (words/practises/tacit approvals) of the prophet Muhammad:-
    “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you (have need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.”

    Also to mention, we DO believe in the ‘other world.’ It exists because Allaah has mentioned in the Qur’an that it exists, as the ‘world of the unseen.’

    Before you lambast me for leaving such a long comment, I just feel that I should clarify the matter at hand, as it is a very important aspect in Islaam.

  17. wah,lilian,gua respek lu lah

    anyway,i’d recommend you help poor hubby mah,though you pray Yehsou and he’s a typical Penang Taoist Buddhist.

    i’m a Theravadin Buddhist,but not a hardcore one…i still help my parents with the kuehs and seng leh…just advised them to cut down on burnt stuffs lah

    i think the joss paper traders are making a circus out of this holy Cheng Beng festival…. since when anyone authorised the production of underwear, bra, tv etc for the dead?

    Folded gold & silver paper would suffice……

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