This year, my birthday coincides with Palm Sunday, with the Chi'ng Ming festival in China and with National Tomb-sweeping day in Taiwan. Not the most cheerful of coincidences; according to Christian tradition, Palm Sunday was when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, and he was nailed to a cross within a week. The Chi'ng Ming festival and the Tomb-sweeping day involve a graveside meal shared with the dead.
I really like the idea of a Tomb-sweeping day. It implies a respect for the dead, and by extension for the elderly, that I've seen dwindle dramatically within the UK in my lifetime (of which I hope to have a great deal left).
Perhaps we should have something similar here. Something to remind the youth of their mortality, so they might not be quite so quick to stab and shoot each other.
An annual visit to a graveyard should be encouraged, along with a reminder of what those stones really mean. I see children playing among gravestones here. Some would say that's good, that they aren't afraid of death, but that's not the case. I don't believe they appreciate what death means. They don't realise that under each stone is a decaying corpse who once enjoyed the spring sunshine just as they do now.
I wonder if the shades watch the children play and hope that in at least one of those small minds, a name on a stone is read and remembered, and linked to a real person who saw the world perhaps a hundred or more years ago.
I doubt any of those children think that way and I suppose it's unfair of me to ask them to consider such dark thoughts, but still I think it would be good to let the young realise that they aren't here forever. Take more care, think about what you do in life because you'll have a long time to regret it afterwards.
Enough maudlin thoughts. Another birthday approaches and I suppose it's preferable to the alternative, but with each one I have to wonder how many are left.
Never mind, it'll soon have passed and I can then ignore it for another year.