Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tomb Sweeping Day

Back in April we took a quick trip to Nanjing (3-4 hour bus ride) for the weekend that happened to fall on the tomb sweeping holiday. On this day individuals will visit the graves of their ancestors. They will bring offerings of food, wine, tea, chopsticks, and ghost money to honor them and support them in the afterlife. We were given some days off of work while others went to visit the tombs of their relatives.

It was kind of a coincidence that we would finally be visiting the famous Nanjing Massacre Museum on the Chinese holiday where you honor the dead. It's a mass grave site of those 300,000 men, women, and children who were brutally murdered during a 6 week period by the Japanese just prior to WWII. It was an emotional experience as you read the plaques to learned about the horrific methods used by the Japanese.  If you're interested in learning about this piece of history you can read about it here

Andrew and I found it to be a good experience and very informative. Usually museums in China are a bit ridiculous and don't impress us much but this one really impacted us. We appreciated that after all the bad news it ended on a happy note. As you finished walking through the mass grave site you exited through a dark hall with floating candles in surrounding pools of water & hanging from the ceiling. It brought you outdoors where you immediately saw a massive statue of a woman holding a dove with the word "PEACE" printed on the base. 

In a small way we were able to take part in tomb sweeping day by visiting the grave site of those innocent victims. We witnessed a young man with a back pack full of wine bottles pouring the liquid into the grass near a wall of names. He was honoring his ancestors in the best way he knew how. 

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