Friday, April 20, 2012

Thailand PT 2 - The Cemetery

The first week in April is the time when Chinese people celebrate the dead.  For those who don't know, Thailand has a huge Chinese population.  And also for those who don't know, my family is Chinese, not Thai.  Anyway, the main reason we picked this time of year to go visit was because my mom wanted to be there to go to the cemetery.  April 1 and 2 are literally the only time people visit the cemeteries, unless of course they are burying someone or keeping the grounds. 

So anyway, at the cemetery, the gravesites are decorated and food is put out for the spirits...real food....and alcohol.  My aunt was actually up all night the night before cooking it all.  After it is all over, the food is taken home and eaten...and of course the alcohol too (It has been known in years passed that the alcohol was gone before people even left the cemetery :) ).  There are also things made out of paper that are burned up and sent to the spirits.  I mean nice things, clothes, washing machine, cars.  We also light incence and place them at the gravesites....this would be like putting flowers on someone's gravesite here. 

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I love doing this stuff!!  I just find different cultures fascinating and I feel so blessed to be able to participate and really see first hand what other cultures do...I guess I shouldn't say "other cultures," since I am part Chinese, so I should say, what one of my cultures does.  But, if I could, I would travel the world and live amongst the people and really get into their lives.

Wow, I got a little side tracked there...anyway, here are some pictures of the day we went.  As you will see, it's a big family thing...My grandpa was there, uncles, aunts, cousins, my mom's cousins...all kinds of people. It's also a Chinese thing, not a Buddhist thing.  My mom wanted me to be clear on that...None of this has anything to do with Buddha, it is just a way to honor our loved ones who have passed.

My Grandpa and Caleb

Putting incense in for my grandma and (biological) grandpa

Carrrying stuff to burn...I think Sammie has a washer

Brothers and Sisters

This was my grandparent's gravesite, but we visited others too...great grandparents, great uncles and aunts

A picture of both of us baby free....that didn't happen often. :)