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Children help and learn at the cemetery

Events: Tending the Graves of the Ancestors

Sunday, March 30, 2008
IT'S A DAY for sentiment and scythes, for memories and paintwork. And for family. Most of all, for family.

At Chinese cemeteries on Phuket, families turn out today to cut the grass, paint the stonework, place colourful flags on graves, burn some heavenly money, light the fireworks.

By 8.30am, the Chinese cemetery on the side of Rang Hill in Phuket City is alive with groups of people who are lighting incense sticks and praying, adding coloured paper to a grave, or resting in the shade and chatting.

Many of them have already done the hard work, clearing the grass, painting the walls, restoring the Chinese lettering in bright red.

But there are a few late-starters, turning up with brand new cutting implements, prepared to do hard work in their Sunday-best clothes.

Children are not hard to find. For one little girl in Hello Kitty pink, this is probably an introduction to her family traditions and a connection with the past that will last a lifetime.

The firecrackers sound, the picnic is being prepared under the trees, the last of the coloured paper has been pinned to the earth of an old grave.

One old man looks on, perhaps making his own connection with a time when he was as young as the the Hello Kitty girl is now.

Some graves still have grass over them, but generally the cememtery is clean and bright. The families are all there.

The ancestors will be pleased.

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Sunday August 18, 2019
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