Culture is what can we call as a way of life conducted by some group of people and contains traditions, values, and experience for future generations. It is also considered as an important aspect in Indonesia that contributes towards the tourism aspect of Indonesia. This is because Indonesia is a nation rich with culture located everywhere around Indonesia. Hence why, Indonesia really cherish tolerance as an important attitude towards culture in Indonesia. Not only that, other culture from other countries entering Indonesia by assimilation or acculturation. Those cultures are Chinese culture, Indian culture, Arabian culture, Japanese culture, and many more including culture from the Western countries. In particular, this mini article will discuss about “Ceng Beng” in Indonesia as part of the Chinese culture that developed itself in Indonesia.
Ceng Beng is a tradition yearly that respects and pray for our elders that passed away. This tradition must be done after the event of Chinese New Year exactly at 4 or 5 April. It is originally a tradition from China. At the year of 732, Emperor Xuanzong as the Emperor of China thought respecting our elders with expensive things are too complicated and expensive for China. And so, the Emperor decided it is enough to visit the grave of our elders and respect them there at the day of Ceng Beng.
Ceng Beng tradition’s objective is to help people remember their families who passed away but also to help strengthen the relationship of families through respecting their elders. This tradition’s preparation isn’t that hard but needs a lot of preparation. It starts from dawn which is before morning where the family visits the graveyard and starts cleaning their elder’s grave. At the same time, they also need to prepare the banquet for their elders. The banquet usually consists of rice, meat like pig meat or fish, side dishes, tea, wine, fruit, and cakes as sign for the departed ones. In the procession, they are required to bring kim ci. It is a prayer paper and also paper money that will be burned to equip the spirits in the realm of steel. After those preparations are finished, then they can start Ceng Beng. First, they pay respect to their elder by praying to them. Then, leave the banquet there for about 2 hours to let the elders “enjoy” the banquet. After that, they pay respect once again for the last time and pray for their elders. Not only that, they also need to clean the grave and the banquet as well.
Over the years, this tradition has changed a lot. Now, you can hire grave cleaners to clean the grave if you are lazy to clean it although losing the meaning of Ceng Beng. You can also do the tradition 2 weeks before 5 April which is after Chinese New Year. Overall, I think the tradition of Ceng Beng is very heartwarming but important at the same time. We respect our elders because we shouldn’t forget about those who raised us before and also build up our relationship with other families or our siblings that is out of contact but reunited because of Ceng Beng.
By: Adrian 2301862582