Since Sunset View Cemetery & Mortuary was founded in April of 1908 as a small, country cemetery in the Berkeley Hills, our Chinese neighbors have been coming here to celebrate Ching Ming (or Qingming, which translates as “clear brightness”), one of the most important Chinese cultural holidays. This festival, also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a traditional time of cemetery visitation, as Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors to clean the gravesites, pray, and make ritual offerings. These offerings include traditional food, burning of incense and paper, and placing flowers at the gravesite.
The Chinese have observed Ching Ming for over 2,500 years, with generations of families gathering to commemorate lost loved ones and enjoy time together with activities like kite flying, singing, picnicking and playing games. For many, the day is one of happiness and tears, kneeling to offer prayers before gravesites of ancestors and relishing in the beauty of a spring day.
Here at Sunset View, we see how beliefs, customs, and religious traditions like those practiced on Ching Ming bring families tremendous comfort and peace when they need it most. Through our work helping our neighbors plan funerals, cremations, and burials, there is a measure of healing that takes place as they tell their loved one’s story. We get to know those from a variety of culture and faith backgrounds while serving families in El Cerrito, Kensington, Richmond, Oakland, and beyond. This is where the expertise of our staff shines, as we help loved ones pay tribute in ways that are meaningful to them.
This spring, we invite families to pay their respects at their ancestors’ graves as they celebrate the uniquely Chinese holiday. To enhance your experience while you are with us, you can download and print our cemetery map to have on hand. Our historic cemetery is the final resting place for so many, offering incomparable views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay, and the downtown San Francisco skyline. On special days like Ching Ming, and ordinary days throughout the year, people wander our grounds to take in the natural beauty and appreciate the serenity that comes with it.
Beyond our grounds, Sunset View’s newly renovated facility is just as breathtaking as the view outside. Our goal is to help families feel at home from the moment they walk through our doors, and the warm lighting and modern, home-like atmosphere of our facility makes that a reality.
Whether you come to Sunset View to pay tribute to an ancestor or because you’d like to take control and preplan your own arrangements, be sure to pause and appreciate the beauty all around you. Remember that our caring staff is here to help you however we can. Reach out to us anytime.