Sunday, April 23, 2006

Weekend Update - Ching Ming Festival

We spent most of Saturday observing the Chinese Ching Ming Festival. Translated literally, "Ching Ming" means "sweeping the graves of your ancestors". Since Jenny's grandparents and her father are buried in Half Moon Bay, we drove out to the cemetery overlooking the Pacific Ocean and met up with Jenny's mother and sisters' families.

Growing up in New Jersey, I did not celebrate Ching Ming along with my family. My parents would only celebrate Chinese New Year's and nothing else. That's what happens when you grow up in an area with only a few others that share your heritage. The Fabulous Brewster Boys will not have that problem out here in California.

Some people look upon Chinese customs such as Ching Ming as a form of ancestor worship. I don't see it that way. The way I see it, we spent the afternoon paying our respects to our deceased relatives by maintaining their graves, adding fresh flowers and praying for their souls. The saddest sight at the cemetery was not the families grieving for their lost loved ones, but the graves that had clearly been neglected for many years. In fact, Jenny says that in China, her family used to have a lively picnic at the family's ancesteral burial ground.

After paying our respects to Jenny's grandparents and father, we gathered up the Brewster Boys--who had been running around the cemetery like free-range chickens--and headed up Route 1 towards the tiny town of El Granada. There, we walked on the beach and watched the waves until dinner time. For dinner, we stopped off at a nearby pub called the Distillery and had sandwiches and hamburgers.

Russell finds a well-worn pinwheel at the cemetery during Ching Ming  Posted by Picasa

Punky scoots across the cemetery during our Ching Ming observances Posted by Picasa

Punky holds onto his grandmother at the beach Posted by Picasa

Punky runs along the wavefront as Russell spies a near miss Posted by Picasa


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