Experience the Chinese Quingming Festival

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Food and incense offering on gravestone.

Salem residents and visitors are invited to experience a Chinese Blessing of the Shrine by the Buddhist Priest from Salem’s Mia Chung Temple in honor of the Chinese Qingming Festival on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at Pioneer Cemetery.  This day is set aside to clean and sweep the graves of Chinese ancestors and pay them homage.

Parking is restricted, and not allowed within the cemetery, so please park along the north side of Hoyt Street, near the southwest entrance of Pioneer Cemetery. Volunteers will be available to guide you to the northern edge of the cemetery, where the Shrine is located.

This opportunity is part of the Salem Cemetery Chinese Shrine Project, which is working to preserve this remnant of the Chinese American’s presence in Salem.

About the Shrine

In November 2017, a Chinese Shrine was uncovered within Salem’s Pioneer Cemetery. We believe the Shrine was constructed in order to provide the Chinese a place to leave offerings for their family members, as well as for those who had died and did not have any family here. Many Chinese who came to Salem were sojourners, here to work temporarily. The inscription on the Shrine’s marble tablet has been translated to mean “To the Tomb of an Unknown Friend.”

Several headstones with Chinese characters were found in the backyard of a resident living to the north of the Pioneer Cemetery. These stones have been graciously returned to the cemetery. They can be viewed, along with several artifacts from the Shrine and a brief history of Salem’s Chinese as part of the Willamette Heritage Center’s exhibit Arrival: Stories of Migration, Immigration and Journeys in the Mid-Willamette Valley. This exhibit will be open through April 27, 2018.

Learn more

If you are interested in attending the next Chinese Shrine Advisory Committee meeting, or have any Chinese artifacts, headstones, or other information about Salem’s Chinese and would be willing to share, please contact Kimberli Fitzgerald.

Contact us

Kimberli FitzgeraldHistoric Preservation Officer
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