Broome Chinese Cemetery
Grave in the Chinese Cemetery at Broome. Each year, Broome’s Chinese families make the trip to the cemetery to pay their respects to their ancestors. Honouring one’s ancestors is a very important part of Chinese culture and on the Chinese lunar calendar there are several special events during which these duties are performed. This generally involves visiting, sweeping and cleaning the ancestors’ graves, then offering gifts and burning incense. One of the community’s most important commemorative days, is known variously as Han Sun, Hang Seng, Chun Yeung or Hung Ting – depending on your family’s local dialect. After cleaning the gravesites, food will be offered to the “hungry ghosts” who are let out of heaven at the seventh moon (around August). Just because they’re spirits doesn’t mean they need a light meal – Han Sun is a veritable feast! Not only does the food have to be plentiful to appease the good and bad spirits, it’s also enjoyed by surviving descendants at a giant picnic that’s held right here among the headstones!
The food is then giant pots or big trays covered with aluminium foil. Tables, chairs and cool drinks are loaded onto a trailer and the pig’s head is placed on a platter, with oranges and whole eggs and special white flowers. It will be offered to the Dai Bak Gong, or earth god, whose silver headstone is the gateway to the cemetery.