I visited Taiwan near the time of this year’s Qingming Festival. On this day, families go to the grave of their loved ones to cleanup and remember. My mom and I have not visited her parents’ grave in years, relying on family to keep the weeds and signs of neglect at bay. This year, we gathered with aunts and uncles from Taipei and Changhua; We met at the cemetery hill in Muzha with brooms and buckets ready.
We drove through a residential area to the hill cascading with grave cubicles, large and small. This hill always held a powerful sway over me as a child through the fear it instilled. The rows and columns used for navigating the graves are badly marked and kept; and the steps leading up looks paved years ago and rarely maintained.
We filled the buckets in a pond along the way and continued on to visit three separate family graves. At each grave, weeding and sweeping took place. After visiting my grand-uncle’s, we headed towards my grandparents’. Even as their grave was pointed out to me from far away, I was overcome with emotion. It has been too long.
I can say that many hazy childhood memories mixed with imaginary fears of the past were demystified that day.
|In front of a local's home in Shiding.|
|The family style lunch dishes.|
With the family in town, we headed towards a rural area of Shiding to eat at a local’s home that have turned into a popular eating spot. The food was family style, in flavor and manner of eating. It was a fun food adventure to have with family.