Saturday, April 05, 2008
April on the move
Since it's active April, we're always on the lookout for things to do. This year China changed their May holiday from 5 weekdays + the weekend to 2 weekdays + the weekend. Those other weekdays have been used to make other traditional holidays longer. For example, Qing Ming Festival, or Tomb Sweeping Festival. This is the day when people go visit the graves of their ancestors, clean them off, burn paper replicas of all the things they want their ancestors to have in the afterlife, and shoot firecrackers to scare away bad spirits. Before this year, people didn't get off work for this. Yesterday was Qing Ming day, and thanks to the new holiday schedule, school was canceled and most people got off work for a long weekend to celebrate. Jessica and I celebrated by climbing a mountain with some students. It was quite an undertaking, involving hours and hours of walking up a road, with the occasional foray onto a shortcut trail. We left at 9 in the morning and got back at just after 5, so it took up the whole day and left us worn out and wanting to chop our feet off to ease the pain. But spring has come so there were flowers all over the place, the weather was great, and it was just great to be outside. I even remembered to take my hat, so the top of my head isn't hot pink today. We saw a few tombs on the side of the mountain as we went up, one bearing signs that someone had lit some firecrackers there that morning or the day before. I imagine they also burned a paper house so their ancestors would have a house in the afterlife, along with a paper car, some (fake) paper money, and maybe a even a paper yacht. I'm just glad I have more to look forward to than paper. I've been promised gold.