The Ching Ming ('Clear Brightness') festival has been celebrated annually at Sydney's Rookwood Cemetery since at least the 1880s.
In my 56 years in Sydney I've noticed a great change. Earlier, people used to believe they should die and be buried in China so their spirits would be there. Now a lot of Chinese believe in staying in Australia so their children can worship them when they pass on. So Ching Ming is getting stronger than ever before
I believe that the Chinese who carry out all their family obligations will receive more fulfilment and happiness. The Ching Ming ritual is a great way to bring the family together. It becomes like a family reunion, coming to the cemetery every year. King Fong, OAM JP, Trustee of Luk Fooktong Chinese Cemetery Committee
Families and clan groups (originating from the same village) flock to the Chinese section of the cemetery to honour their ancestors, ensuring continued good fortune for the family and business.
Gravesites are cleaned and repaired, and offerings of flowers, food and drink arranged by the grave. Non-food offerings such as joss paper and sticks are sent to the spirit world via burning. Paper effigies of essential goods such as clothing, shoes, and money are also burnt. Once the ancestor spirits have blessed the food and spiritually partaken of it, all the family shares in the feast.