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Friday, April 11, 2008

Cheng Meng Festival

The Cheng Meng or Cheng Beng Festival, depending on which Chinese dialect you want to call it, is a practice observed by Chinese communities all over the world, the only difference found in a festival celebrated in two countries would be cultural ones usually due to constraints cause by local conditions and availability of certain physical materials.
The festival falls on the 5th of April every year, except on a leap year where it will be on the 4th of April.

Cemetery Main Hall with ancestral tablets and diety.
During the festival, departed ancestors are honored and venerated, a time honored Asian tradition of respect for the elders and filial piety.
Cemetery ground and memoriam for the Shuntak Association's departed ancestors.

My family will be participating this year for the first time in our ShunTak Association Cheng Meng Festival activities, which will consist of paying our respect to our ancestors and fellow departed clansman in their burial grounds.

Preparation of "offerings" to our ancestors.

Like in most Chinese festival, participation does not necessarily reflect an individual’s religious belief, it can be celebrated just for the sake of communal identity and culture.

Me paying my respects.

We have Christians, Buddhist and Secularist like me in the group along with the majority of members who practices a syncretic religion containing elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Although, most Malaysian Chinese practising these syncretic form of religion will officially call themselves Buddhist.

For Christians the intent is to show respect rather than worship and the event is also not considered a "Buddhistic" practise. Obviously, for secularist, it is merely a physical action to show respect.

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