Qingming (Tomb Sweeping Day)
Tangra (New Chinatown), Kolkata
Also see: My blog post on Calcutta (Kolkata) Chinatown
Qingming or the Tomb Sweeping Day is held on the 15 th day after the spring equinox and normally falls on 5 or 6 April.
On this day the Chinese pay tribute to their ancestors by cleaning the tombs and offering elaborate food spread in front of the graves. It can be considered as the Chinese version of the All Souls’ Day.
~ Birth Place of Calcutta Chinatown ~
In the late 18th century a Chinese tea trader by the name of Tong Achew landed on the banks of Hooghly, somewhere near present day Budge – Budge, never to return again. The then Governor General Warren Hasting granted land to Achew to set up a sugar cane plantation and sugar factory. According to records to British East India Company “Achew was granted 650 bighas of land about 6 miles south of Budge – Budge for an annual rent of Rs 45.”
After acquiring the land Achew set up a sugar – cane plantation along with a sugar mill. He brought in a band of Chinese workers to work in his plantation and factory and thus forming the first Chinese settlement in India. But Achew died soon after and his sugar factory was abandoned. His workers left for the city of Calcutta, where their descendents still continue to live.