Qing Ming begins with “sweeping the grave”, involving the upkeep and maintenance of an ancestor’s grave or urn. Inter-generational families may allocate half a day at their ancestors’ graves, with some bringing home-cooked food known to be deceased’s favourite food. Depending on the dialect group, descendants lay out offerings ranging from food, flowers, tea and huat kueh
(prosperity cake), first for the Tu Di Gong (土地公, Earth God), then for wandering spirits. Rituals may include paying respects lighting red candles and holding lighted joss sticks while standing, bowing, or kneeling, before the burning paper offerings. These paper offerings include items symbolising money, bungalows, cars, and mobile phones—to be used by ancestors in the afterlife. At the end of the visit, the food offerings are brought home to be consumed by the family.
Within the ethnic Chinese community observing Qing Ming, many local Chinese clan associations continue to organise ancestor worship for their members, through events like “spring prayer rites”. Some people may also make offerings to the deceased who are not related to them at all.