Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Burning with Spirit During Qingming in Guangzhou

Today on an old street in Guangzhou some iPhones, watches, and shoes burned.

paper watches, shoes, and iPhones burn

New clothing was added to the fire.

boxes with paper shirts, ties, and suits jacket burn

And more items, such as money and cigarettes, were added.

family burning paper replicas of items during Qingming

And the fire burned on.

paper replicas of various items burning

Eventually, all that was left of the items was a pile of ash.

ash on road

Water fully put out the burning.

boy throwing water onto smoking ash

And there was a quick cleanup of what remained.

woman cleaning up ashes with broom and dustbin

Had the family needed more to burn, a shop just a short walk away offered plenty of options.

shop selling paper replicas of various items

shop selling paper replicas of various items

paper clothing for sale

paper spirit money for sale

paper replicas of various items for sale

All of the items were paper replicas — part of a tradition of sending needed items to ancestors in the afterlife. Today was Qingming, Tomb-Sweeping Day, and many similar offering were made elsewhere in Guangzhou and the rest of China. Even if your beliefs differ, watching the burnings can feel cathartic.

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