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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tomb Sweeping Day

Last year, I got all excited about Tomb Sweeping Day, a holiday that is similar in essence to the Latin American Day of the Dead. I wanted to visit a cemetery to see people sprucing up the tombs in anticipation of a visit from their ancestors, to smell the incense & paper money burning, to hear the quiet prayers of the devoted.

But my students looked at me like I was nuts. I soon realized that, at least in Shanghai, the most popular way to spend a holiday - any holiday - is shopping at the mall. To heck with all that traditional old-school stuff. China is modern! Shopping & movies & karaoke!

So this year I've got another plan. Since it's a four-day weekend, I'm going to spend the holiday at a monastery a couple of hours from Shanghai. I'm looking forward to relaxing in a peaceful place, away from the bustle & hustle of the city, eating lots of good vegetarian food, & watching butterflies flutter by. It'll be nice to see nature again, & I may even see a tomb or two swept.

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