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Spirit money is burned to buy ancestors into heaven.  Instead of burning real money, spirit money is bought and then burned, usually by your children, to get you into heaven.

I looked at a calendar recently and saw that there seems to be a holiday in countries of the Chinese diaspora once each month. The pattern of celebration is something like second month, second day; third month third day and fourth month, fourth day. Well, yesterday was 4/4 and…it was a holiday. This one was Children’s Day. We were out of school for the holiday that came on Saturday (It’s a major holiday that would get us a day out of school but since it’s on a Saturday, we were out on Friday.) so Children’s Day was observed at my school on Wednesday. Instead of classes, the day was filled with an all school festival. Booths were set up with some of the most creative games I’ve ever seen! There was bowling with a rubber ball and water bottles. Another game required you to use a net fashioned with a paper tissue to scoop as many plastic balls as possible out of water. And, there was yet another that challenged you to roll a water bottle on a soapy table top to within 6” of the table’s edge. My challenge was figuring out how to play the games that were explained to me in Mandarin. Classes also sold a variety of items as fund raisers. To keep the day really interesting, students had to successfully complete oral challenges in all subjects, including the English, Taiwanese and Hakka language classes taught at the school.

The big holiday today is Tomb Sweeping. This is a holiday that came from China and is all about duty to the ancestors. Family members gather at the ancestral grave site for cleaning and repairing. They often leave very bland food to that ghosts wont like, in order to keep them away. Many people I talked to completed their duty earlier in the week so that they could enjoy the long weekend resting and relaxing.

So, the first day honors future generations and the second honors the past.

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In August, 2007 I will be leaving Indianapolis with my daughter, Kristen, to live and work in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will be my fiftieth year on this planet and my first year living in another country. This blog will let you join us on the adventure!
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Taipei

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