Saturday, March 17, 2012

Aberdeen Chinese Permanent Cemetery, Hong Kong

The Aberdeen Chinese Permanent Cemetery is the first Chinese permanent cemetery in Hong Kong, opened in 1915. Hong Kong is culturally part of Guangdong Province, and shares in the practice of 'second burial' typical of southern China. Second burial is the practice of uncovering the remains of the dead after several years of burial and reburying them for a second time in situ or at an alternative site. In some of Hong Kong's cemeteries, second burial is mandatory, the remains have to be dug up for relocation or cremation within a maximum period of time (normally seven years). There is often a crematorium on site to accomplish this, though it is not the only option. Cleaned bones, are the 'yang' and the flesh is 'yin', and can be stored in a pottery urn also known as a jinta, literally "golden pagoda". These bone urns can be buried in small graves in public cemeteries or displayed in the open and are the only permanent graves available in public cemeteries. 

Chinese Permanent Cemeteries are managed on a nonprofit basis by the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries Board, which comprises Government-appointed trustees.The Aberdeen cemetery was the first time people were willing to be buried outside of their ancestral Chinese territory. Aberdeen is a small town located on the south side of Hong Kong Island with about 60,000 inhabitants. The Chinese Permanent Cemetery lies in the hills above Aberdeen, the tombstones lined up the terraced slopes. The cemetery is 98,542 square metres and offers burial ground, urn burial, columbarium niches and exhumation niches. In 1966, the Aberdeen cemetery added an additional open columbarium, providing 2,825 niches, and in 1971, built a two-story 1,584 niche columbarium, and in 1973 completed a five-story columbarium providing a total of 4, 498 niches.

Cemetery overlooking Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau - LINK
Terraces of the cemetery. Photo credit: Stephen Bay - LINK

Photo credit: Stephen Bay - LINK

Info from here

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