They cleaned the graves, put down food, wine and flowers and burned incense, which are commonly considered traditional rituals. Tomb Sweeping Day, known as Qing Ming in Chinese, is a memorial holiday when families visit the graves of their ancestors, sweep clean the tomb, place offerings, and have a prayer ceremony.
Many of the Chinese ancestors, who immigrated to the United States from China in 1870, have no descendants. Before they could bring their families to the U.S., federal and state laws were enacted restricting Chinese immigration. Thus families were separated.
“It’s important to remember these men who came to Riverside and who didn’t have families and worked all their life and died here and contributed so much to build up this community,” said Rosalind Sagara, chairperson of Save Our Chinatown Committee, “So today we honor their contributions and who they were as people.”
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