life, death, and in-between

Tet is a time of celebration and rememberance. Offerings of food are made to the ancestors. Paper money and paper clothes are burnt to reappear for their use in the afterlife. Family graves are visited, incense is lighted, prayers are whispered, asking the ancestors to watch over the family.

The family is growing, changing. I watch in wonder as some cousins become teenagers, displaying a bit of awkwardness and secrecy around adults. Hmmm... was I like that when I was their age? While other cousins have begun having babies and families of their own. So soon, so young! But is it really.... or just my impression because I'm not ready for the responsibility? One day...

Marked by birthdays we are reminded of the passing of time and their growing maturity. There were two birthdays in the short period I was there. But as we welcome new life, we also lose some along the way. I attended my first Vietnamese family funeral, my grandmother's older brother passed away. And well... I have a huge family.

Family altars. I find it kinda curious that they make paper clothes with the NIKE swish. How label-conscious has society become that these are even made available? Only the best will do for the afterlife. Not even the spiritual world can escape commercialism.

A few of my many cousins. Is it just me or do teenagers always look like they're up to something?

My cousins' children. They are way ahead of me.

Grandma at her brother's funeral.

The funeral procession.

Final steps to the gravesite.

Lighting incense for all the family graves. Its a nice idea that family members can rest together.


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