More visiting graves at night for Qing Ming

More visiting graves at night for Qing Ming

The annual Qing Ming Festival attracted large crowds at Choa Chu Kang cemetery in the past week. But many Chinese families are opting to pay respects to their departed loved ones at night instead.

The reason? To avoid the crowds, traffic snarls and warm weather in the day, Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

Also called "tomb sweeping day", Qing Ming is a festival in which families visit the graves and columbarium niches of their departed loved ones, often burning offerings as well as cleaning the graves.

The festival took place yesterday, but many people usually visit during the 10 days before or after the day.

When Wanbao visited Choa Chu Kang cemetery last Saturday night at 9pm, there were many lit candles and parked cars spotted.

Pan Yuzhen, 52, who was there with her family of 30 to pay respects to her father, said they tried to visit the cemetery in the mornings before.

But it turned out to be too warm, so the family decided to meet at night instead.

One man who wanted to be known only as Mr Wang, 48, said that he has seen more people visiting the cemetery's graves at night in recent years.

Aside from lower temperatures, fewer people and fewer jams, Mr Wang said that the most important reason for the evening visits is that "people have more free time at night, so it's much easier to make arrangements then".

This is the case for chef Lai Huayong, 58, and his three brothers. He explained that he and his siblings have to work in the day, so it is much easier for the brothers to meet at night to pay respects to their parents and grandparents.

For driver Wu Caiming, 48, the serious jams in the morning are why he and his family of 20 go to the cemetery at night during the Qing Ming period.

Highlighting how long the jams can be and the impact on taxi fares, Mr Wu said: "My friends live in nearby Choa Chu Kang but when they take a taxi down to the cemetery, it can cost them nearly $20 even though the distance is very short."

myp@sph.com.sg


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