Qing Ming is an important observance in Singapore for the remembrance of one’s ancestors, that is celebrated mainly by those of Chinese ancestry. It is also called “Tomb Sweeping Day” since cleaning and sweeping out your ancestors’ tombs is a part of the traditional way to commemorate it.
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Qing Ming is not an official public holiday, but people will often take annual leave to participate in family ceremonial activities.
On Qing Ming, people bring all manner of offerings for their deceased relatives. It could be food items, wine, paper crafts, imitation gold bars or paper money, incense sticks, or chopsticks. Whatever is brought, it is supposed to show respect for the dead and is believed by some to help them have all necessaries in the next life.
Originally, Qing Ming was kept by the rulers of the Zhou Dynasty in China. It was a ritual performed only in ancestor-temples. Only later, during the Han Dynasty, did Qing Ming become something commoners took part in at their familial grave sites. Today, however, there are still temples that perform Qing Ming rituals as well, and it is thought that these rituals can transfer “merit” to the dead to help them have a beneficial rebirth, that is, reincarnation.
Qing Ming creates a lot of shopping activity and traffic congestion in Singapore, and it is taken off work by many.