Today is a holiday, Qing Ming Jie, or Tombsweeping Festival.
Many families for the next 3 days will be traveling to the countryside to visit grave sites of family members. They’ll clean the area, place incense and offerings of fruit or drinks to their loved ones, decorate the mounds with tissue-papered flags and set off firecrackers.
This tradition, April 5, used to be just that: a tradition.
Now, it’s a holiday with April 5 the official day off and April 6 added to extend to a 3-day “holiday”. I say “holiday” because government offices and schools are required to make up the Friday (the unofficial holiday) on Sunday. Thus no church for me this weekend since my Friday classes have been moved to Sunday.
After all these years in China, I still don’t quite get the “We have a 3-day holiday!” when, actually, it’s no holiday at all. At our school, we are also required to make up the official holiday as well. We do that on our own time, scheduling our classes whenever we can.
Defeats the purpose of having a holiday, in my opinion, but nothing much I can do about it.
Our weather at present is rainy. After our sweltering, 80-degree heat with roasting sunshine these past few days, we have now turned dreary and dark and wet. Not sure how many families will be traipsing along muddy pathways, wading through weeds and muck to get to those countryside graves. At least, not today, anyway.
A Visit to Tong Tan on Saturday
My holiday plans are to visit a farming family, Chen and Che, on Saturday if the weather clears up. I have mentioned them before in previous posts. The family adopted an abandoned dog on my campus, which I had been trying to find a home for. This was 3 years ago. SP (Stairwell Puppy) now has a wonderful life in the countryside, enjoying plenty of freedom as a rural canine.
In exchange for this kind gesture to take in a dog, I have gathered together a few people, including my mom and myself, to make sure the couple’s 14-year-old daughter gets through school, from high school to college, if necessary. The family is extremely poor and having trouble making ends meet. I feel so grateful several of us are working together to help them in this manner.
Below are a few pictures from my last visit, taken with a former student, “Angel” Zhang. Mrs. Chen’s mother, 84, was also visiting at that time and so was the girl, “Julie”. Usually, she is boarding at school in Luzhou (2 hours away) but for that particular weekend, she returned home to visit.
Until next report, here’s wishing you Ping An (peace) for your day.