This past Monday (the 14th) was 崇 洋 (Chong Yang), the 9th Day of the 9th Moon in the Lunar Calendar. We went to pay our respects on the 12th to avoid the crowds. Apparently everyone else was "avoiding the crowd" as well. =P The flower shops were busting at the seams with Chinese people buying flowers - Chinese don't usually buy flowers for any other reason =)
My maternal grandmother was laid to rest in the same cemetary as Husband Guy's paternal grandmother. My parents didn't tell me this until recently because of our wedding. My Grandma passed away in 1983 in Guangzhou, China, but my Aunt May was the last of Grandma's children to immigrate to Canada, so her ashes were brought here.
I remember when my Aunt May first arrived, they lit three incense sticks for Grandma. When you burn incense, the ash will fall off the top of the stick usually. There's an old saying that if there's more than an inch of ashes that stay on the stick, then the soul of the deceased is nearby and/or experiencing great joy. That day, there was over 4 whole inches of ashes that stayed on the middle one. The ashes bent over and curved, but none of it ever fell off. It might have something to do with the lower humidity in Vancouver than southern China, I don't know. But I've never seen incense ash do that before and I've never seen anything like it since.
Anyway, Mom, Dad, Brother Boy, Husband Guy and I went together. We didn't do the whole nine yards (as I described in my other journal entry). We just lay down the flowers and did a simple 3 bows with a moment of silence, then did the same for Husband Guy's Grandma.
We went out to Golden Dynasty for dim sum afterwards. After paying respects at an ancestor's gravesite, you're supposed to have a meal in a very public place so that the death aura dissipates. We're not superstitious, we go through the motions if it's not too much of an inconvenience.