Qing Ming traffic jams are back

Families on their way to pay respects to their ancestors caused a traffic jam from Jalan Bahar to the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery on Sunday.

The 4.5km jam also spilled onto the Pan Island Expressway.

Mandai Avenue, which leads to the Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex, also saw a jam.

Every year, Chinese families visit their ancestors' tombs 10 days before the Qing Ming (or tomb sweeping) Festival, which falls on Saturday. But some prefer the weekend and so go later.

As jams go, these were unusual as there was only occasional honking from irate drivers. One reason could be that they did not want to disturb the peace of the serene surroundings.

Several passengers, tired of waiting in slow moving buses, alighted near the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery and started walking.

At Mandai Avenue, some parked their cars along the road and walked up to a kilometre to the crematorium and columbarium complex.

At the sites, crowds prayed in respectful silence.

During this festival, family members and relatives make offerings to their ancestors as a form of filial piety.

According to traditional Chinese belief, daily items like food and clothing, and hell notes, are needed by the ancestors in the afterlife.

The offerings are also burned in small piles to prevent the ashes from scattering so that they can be picked up easily by them.

Families also pray for blessings from their ancestors, as well as safety and protection.

Coloured pinwheels placed at the ancestral tombs also signify their hopes for a smooth future.

Tossing joss paper into the air, some families exclaimed "Huat, ah!" ("Let's prosper" in Hokkien) as they asked their ancestors for good luck and fortune.