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Cimetière du Montparnasse

Yet another year in which I fail to make it home for Cheng Beng – a customary “festival” similar to that of All Souls Day on a Christian calendar.

The last time I participated in the tending of our family ancestors’ graves was just before I moved to Europe, half a lifetime ago. Normally the timing simply didn’t work with my schedule but this year, it came incredibly close. I was home for my brother’s wedding recently, and it crossed my mind to extend my holiday so I can finally join my family on this year’s occasion. However, with work being incredibly busy, I didn’t feel it was appropriate to tack on another week to my ten days trip.

Cimetière du Montparnasse

And thus, rather peculiarly, I have cemetery in my mind. I think back to the Asian-styled tomb and final resting place of people near and dear to me, and at every turn, I also get flashbacks to the cemeteries that I’ve visited in Paris. Normally, according to my grandmother, one should not go to a cemetery bar specific event (like a funeral) or occasion (like Cheng Beng). However, I am less particular about keeping away from the Parisian cemeteries.

Cimetière du Montparnasse

Cimetière du Montparnasse

Cimetière du Montparnasse

Cemeteries in Paris are rather stylised, with plenty of characters to the tombs. They incorporated not only classic imagery of loss and angelic guardianship but also modern arts and other personal/familial touches. The photos above are from the Cimetière du Montparnasse which is located not too far from where we live. I took these photos last summer though, which explains the beautiful sunny sky that accompanied me that day.

The more famous cemetery in Paris is that of Père Lachaise, situated in the north-east corner of the city. I have so far only been there once, during last autumn. It is a very impressive site, far more varied than the cemetery of Montparnasse and with far more visitors who were there in search of their favourite personalities. I took quite a lot of photos there too, which I should sort and share with you some time soon.

Category: France, Musing, Paris, People

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2 scribbles & notes

  1. med says:

    very different indeed but i think scarier at night when ur mind play tricks on the shadows and differently styled tombs :)

    • Lil says:

      don’t know. it’s like, living away from asia, ghosts and phantoms stayed in asia and didn’t follow me here. my imagination doesn’t get work up here the way it would be at home. it’s more cultural association thing, i think.

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