Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hong Kong Series at CantoneseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Hong Kong. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 14. Ching Ming Festival or 清明節 in Cantonese.
In Hong Kong, April 4, 5 or 6 is set as the Ching Ming Festival. It’s a public holiday or 公眾假期. The traditional activities of the Ching Ming Festival are to visit, clean, and pay respects at ancestors' graves, or 掃墓 in Cantonese. Therefore, you can see people carrying out filial piety by burning incense, weeding, and burning joss money and paper-mâché offerings or 紙紮祭品 in front of the tombstones.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you- Do you know what kind of flower, or 花, you should take to a graveyard?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
Spring or 春天 starts around the time the Ching Ming festival is held, so some families take the opportunity to go on a hike and get some fresh air. Some families visit the ancestors' graves a few days or even weeks earlier to avoid the crowds, so generally speaking the customs are not limited to Ching Ming Day only.
People in Hong Kong burn paper-mâché models in the shape of daily-use items during the day. The offerings can be anything from fancy cars, to villas, servants, yachts, game consoles, mobile phones, pets, and so on. Descendants send these items to their ancestors in the underworld by burning them, hoping that the ancestors will have an affluent lifestyle in the afterlife. Everything that we use comes in a paper-mâché version for the deceased.
There is another common phenomenon on Ching Ming Festival. That’s wildfire, or 山火 in Cantonese. While paying respect to the deceased, some people accidentally leave the fire burning, or don’t use metal buckets to burn joss money and products. This sometimes leads to wildfires in Hong Kong. To avoid this happening, the government has enacted laws to regulate burning rituals and raise the public's awareness of fire safety.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question- Do you know what kind of flower, or 花, you should take to a graveyard?
The most common flower used to pay respect to the deceased is chrysanthemum, or 菊花. This is because the chrysanthemum represents yearning and longing, especially the white chrysanthemum, which is used in memorial ceremonies.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do people commemorate their ancestors in your country?
Leave us a comment at CantoneseClass101.com
We'll see you next time!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

How do people commemorate their ancestors in your country?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:45 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello robert groulx,

You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.

Kind regards,


Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Sunday at 10:36 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thanks for the lesson

my favorite phrase is 菊花.

it is a good holiday to honor the deceased, but we do not celebrate