The smell of things burning floats anxiously thru the house, dozens of ghost circles in the lane before the torrential rains wash them away, Buddhist Supply shops doing a hopping business: it's Tomb Sweeping Day.
Qing Ming Jie, 清明节, Clear Bright Festival, arrives on the solar calendar, on April 4th. It's the time for visiting family graves and bringing gifts to those who have gone ahead to the afterlife.
But not all ghosts stay peacefully in that afterlife; some ghosts are restless. They roam the earth, disturbing earthly life. They can be appeased by the burning of paper lotus flowers.
Or so I'm told by someone seeing these in my studio. I bought them for the beauty of their folding... & for how they looked in their cheerful yellow box. I've been shy about buying the folded gold paper pineapples but one of these days...
In the weeks preceding QingMing, one sees the older people passing their time folding dozens & dozens of pieces of joss into the shape of chinese ingots. At the temple, the paper ingots go into large red sacks inscribed with the names of their recipients in the afterlife. The sacks go into the fire cauldrons in the temples courtyard & the smoke carries the goods into the afterworld. As seen at the Jade Buddha Temple. ( Please forgive me the quality...it's this luddite's very first imovie.)
|Drawer #8.2: From the top, compartments 1, 3, & 4: ghost flowers made from folded paper bound with thread; backing cloth is a traditional Tibetan pattern; 2. Tin & glass container|