27 March 2010

Ch'ing Ming Festival at Evergreen Cemetery on April 3, 2010

We received the following notice from The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California:

You are invited to attend the Ch’ing Ming Festival hosted by CHSSC
Saturday, April 3, 2010, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights
204 North Evergreen Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Enter from Evergreen Avenue and go all the way back, where the Chinese Shrine is. The festival free and open to the public. A light lunch will be served.

The Ch’ing Ming festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that goes back several centuries. Families gather to honor their ancestors by sweeping their graves and making offerings such as food and paper money. It was believed that the ancestors' spirits have to be at peace and that the spirits of those who are not taken care of could cause trouble in the mortal world.

At this year’s festival, there will be a traditional Taoist ceremony to honor all those at the cemetery. Also, the Taoist master will set up several altars, including an altar to honor the graves that were unearthed during the Gold Line excavation (a memorial wall dedicated in the memory of these people is also in the same area of the cemetery).

The second part of the festival will feature the tradition of “grave sweeping.” Participants will walk over to the grave of Donaldina Cameron and help clean her plot.

Ms. Cameron is credited with the rescuing of thousands of Asian women, who were either being held as domestic slaves and prostitutes back in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

Along with tipping off police of illegal activities and sometimes going on police raids herself, she also maintained a women’s shelter, where women could live and where they were taught basic skills.

During the grave sweeping, the grandchildren of people who knew Ms. Cameron personally will share the stories their grandparents told them about her. While it is not completely clear why Ms. Cameron was buried in Los Angeles and not San Francisco, where she carried out her work, Ms. Cameron was very close to her sisters and the burial plot they are all buried in is one of her sister’s husband’s family’s plot.

About THE CHINESE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: CHSSC was created to discover and recognize our pioneers and their history. CHSSC strives to increase awareness of Chinese American heritage through public programs and research. The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, 11 Bernard St. Los Angeles, CA 90012 • 323.222.0856    CHSSC.org • CHSSC@hotmail.com

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