Here are some photos from around our neighbourhood during the Tomb Sweeping Festival 清明节 from the end of March to the beginning of April 2011 (blogged here). For more about the Tomb Sweeping Festival see:
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Street vendors selling spirit money appear on corners in the week leading up to traditional holidays like the Tomb Sweeping Festival. This year they were also harrassed by the chéngguǎn, or city bylaw enforcers, but only halfheartedly. This woman has just been told to clear off.
Piles of spirit money waiting to be bought. Also often called “ghost money” in English, or literally translated as “paper money” — 纸钱 zhǐqián.
At the intersection nearest our apartment complex.
Piles of ash dot intersections and main gates, which are prime locations for sending burnt offerings to ancestors.
Sometimes it’s just one lonely person burning a pile. Other times it’s a family affair.
“Civilizedly offer sacrifices and tidy the ancestral tombs, safe and sound Tomb Sweeping Festival” 文明祭扫 平安清明 wénmíng jìsǎo, píng’ān qīngmíng The government pooh-poohs on the practice of burning paper money. I hear the official line (sometimes word for word!) parroted by friends, students, co-workers and taxi drivers.