|Chinese grave in Chonburi, Thailand|
This post was originally posted in 2011, in the time I was still living nearby Pattaya and exploring nearby Chonburi by motorbike. I have always had an interest in history and graves & cemeteries make part of that history. Even in my home country I find it interesting to walk over old or abandoned cemeteries. When I was in Indonesia I did visit the cemeteries from the old Dutch people living there before. In Thailand there are not so much cemeteries because most Thai will be cremated at the temple and their ashes will be put in a small urn. But the Thai-Chinese like to make a place of remembrance and honour for their family. At some places you see the huge Chinese cemeteries, which prove that there must be huge Chinese community in Thailand and already for a long time. But not only like a big cemetery, also private graves just for one family or even 1 person. There are a few things that they have in common, they are all build in a kind of small hill and even on a real hill facing the sea. And if no sea you can always make a pound in front of the grave. But why are Chinese grave all build in a similar fashion? The answer of course is Feng Shui and other Chinese superstition. Although some of the rules are also very practical.
First of all the location, there should be a large wooded mountain behind the cemetery. And it is even better to have more mountains behind that mountain. But if there are any mountains in front of the cemetery they should be far away, leaving a large and wide space in between. And it is preferable to have water flowing nearby, but through the cemetery.
- Choose a site with sunlight, otherwise the owner may have few male offspring and female offspring may be unhappy for no reasons;
- Avoid sites on a mountain ridge or mountain top, which may lead the offspring to have harsh lives. A site with thin soil is also not good;
- Do not choose a site with water flowing through, in order not to have ill or sick descendants;
- Avoid sites below high-voltage wires to avoid bad luck for the family;
- The site at the foot of the cemetery walls is not good, as it may lead later generations to have conflicts with others;
- Avoid a used graveyard. If the burial plot soil is from a used graveyard, bring some new soil from auspicious places;
- A good graveyard should be larger than about one square meter and have boundary lines which can meet at right triangles. It is even better to build low walls around the grave. But there must be an entrance, which should be in the middle of a wall and the entrance should face south, southeast or south-southeast;
- It is good to plant some trees around the tomb. Evergreen pines and cypresses are best. Usually, the trees are in even numbers and arranged on two sides of the tombstone symmetrically. Please note that the trees should not be too close to the tomb, at least about 3 meters away, to avoid the roots growing into the tomb. Trim the branches if they spread over the tomb.
- It is also not good for surrounding wild grasses to spread over the tomb. So sweep the tomb at least once a year. In China, there is even a festival called Tomb-sweeping Day for people to sweep tombs of their ancestors.
- Do not cover the graveyard with stone or concrete floor completely; leave some space for soil, flowers and plants.