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All Saints Day, Ching Ming
Thank you for this interesting information. I'm posting it at the asiawind
forum for people to read about Ching Ming. It reminds me of All Saints Day,
in November, the day set aside for cleaning graves and lighting candles on
our ancestors graves. My parents were very good at keeping up this Catholic
It's very nice to know that your community members celebrate Ching Ming
with a banquet. While some people wear black for a year, and lead a
straight and good life, after the death of a close relative(I've noticed
this with older Italian women who wear black dresses after their husband
pass away, in the Italian neighbourhood where I used to live), others
celebrate! Great news, keep us up to date on the Chinese customs in India
as time goes by.
>From Dominic in Tangra, India:
I am quoting the information from the Diary 2000, Ms Jennifer has written
for the Indian Chinese. The legend of Ching Ming or pai san as we Hakka
call it is as follows.
In 600 B.C. in Shanxi province, lived a man by the name of Jie Zi Dui. He
became a hero when he saved his ailing master's life by serving him with a
piece of flesh from his own leg. In gratitude, the Lord wanted to reward
Jie by making him a minister in his court, but Jie declined choosing to
lead a secluded life with his mother in the mountains.
In order to force Jie out of the mountains, the Lord ordered the mountain
to be burnt down. But he underestimated the stubbornness of Jie who chose
to get burnt to death than get out of the mountain. Once the Lord realised
this, he was remorseful. He ordered all fires to be put out on Jie's death
anniversary and all families were to go to the hill-side and worship on
this date. Therefore began the "cold food feast" because no foood could be
cooked since no fire could be lit.
In Calcutta, this practice of putting out the fire is not followed. But
the Indian Chinese families go to the cemeteries to tend to the graves of
the ancestors. Ching Ming is observed between 5th March to 5th April. Also
this is one of the occasions when the different clan/surname Associations
hold a banquet (community dinner) for the members.