A Travellerspoint blog

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Besides today having a huge importance due to it being my friend Yan's Birthday it also has another much older and greater importance. Today in China is the Qingming Festival (Clear and Bright Festival). It is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar (see Chinese calendar). Every leap year, Qing Ming is on April 4. Astronomically, it is also a solar term (See Qingming). In solar terms, the Qingming festival is on the 1st day of the 5th solar term, which is also named Qingming. [/i] In short it s a time for people to head outside and enjoy the greenery that springtime offers and to also take an adventure into the hills and both celebrate and 'sweep clean' the family graves. As of this year it is now an official public holiday in China. Prior to this year it was a public holiday in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. <u>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and other sites</u></b> The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases. It is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. But the Qingming Festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work, it is more a festival of commemoration. The Qingming Festival sees a combination of sadness and happiness. This is the most important day of sacrifice. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. For the Chinese, it is a day to remember and honor one's ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, (joss) paper accessories, and/or libation to the ancestors. The rites are very important to most Chinese and especially farmers. Some people carry willow branches with them on Qingming, or put willow branches on their gates and/or front doors. They think that willow branches help ward off the evil ghosts that wander on Qingming. Also on Qingming, people go on family outings, start the spring plowing, sing, dance, and Qingming is a time where young couples start courting. Another popular thing to do is fly kites (in shapes of animals, or characters from Chinese opera). The April Fifth Movement and the Tiananmen Incident were major events on Qingming that took place in the history of the People's Republic of China. When Premier Zhou Enlai died in 1976, thousands visited him during the festival to pay respect. In the Republic of China, April 4th coincides with the passing of Chiang Kai-shek and the date is designated as a national holiday. Also, they will not cook on this day and only cold food is served. Hanshi, the day before Qingming, was created by Chong'er, the Duke Wen of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period when he accidentally killed his personal friend and servant Jie Zhitui (or Jie Zitui) and his mother in a fireblaze in the hope of making him return to him (Chong'er). On Hanshi, people were not allowed to use fires to heat up food, thus nicknaming it the Cold Food Festival. Eventually, 300 years ago, the Hanshi "celebration" was combined with the Qingming festival, but later abandoned by most people. Qingming itself was created by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732. It is said that because the wealthy held too many expensive, elaborate ancestor-worshipping ceremonies, in a needed effort to lower this expense, Emperor Xuanzong declared that respects could be formally paid at ancestor's graves only on Qingming. The Hanshi (Cold Food) Festival was usually one day before the Qingming Festival. As our ancestors often extended the day to the Qingming, they were later combined. On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people who came to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices. Traffic on the way to the cemeteries becomes extremely jammed. The customs have been greatly simplified today. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet. In contrast to the sadness of the tomb sweepers, people also enjoy hope of Spring on this day. The Qingming Festival is a time when the sun shines brightly, the trees and grass become green and nature is again lively. Since ancient times, people have followed the custom of Spring outings. At this time tourists are everywhere. People love to fly kites during the Qingming Festival. Kite flying is actually not limited to the Qingming Festival. Its uniqueness lies in that people fly kites not during the day, but also at night. A string of little lanterns tied onto the kite or the thread look like shining stars, and therefore, are called "god's lanterns." The Qingming Festival is also a time to plant trees, for the survival rate of saplings is high and trees grow fast later. In the past, the Qingming Festival was called "Arbor Day". But since 1979, "Arbor Day" was settled as March 12 according to the Gregorian calendar. <u>Qingming in literature</u></b> Qingming was frequently mentioned in Chinese literature. Among these, the most famous one is probably Du Mu's poem (simply titled "Qingming"): <u>English translation </u>[/i] [/i] A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day; The mourner's heart is breaking on his way. Where can Winehouse be found to drown his sadness? A cowherd points to Xing Hua village in the distance. <u>Qingming in English Texts</u></b> The transcription of the term Qingming may appear in a number of different forms, some of which are: Qingming, Qing Ming, Qing Ming Jie, Ching Ming (official in Hong Kong), Ching Ming Chieh. The holiday is also known by a number of other names in the English language: All Souls Day (not to be confused with the Roman Catholic holiday, All Souls Day, of the same name), Clear Brightness Festival, Festival for Tending Graves, Grave Sweeping Day, Chinese Memorial Day, Tomb Sweeping Day, Spring Remembrance. Tomb Sweeping Day and Clear Brightness Festival are the most common English translations of Qingming Festival. Tomb Sweeping Day is used in several English language newspapers published in the Republic of China. <u>&iexcl;and a little extra for you...&shy;oh la la!</u>[/i]</b> On a note, the overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore and Malaysia also practice this custom. However the practice is in decline in these regions. Sexy lingerie sets have reportedly become a hit among Malaysia's ethnic Chinese, who buy them to offer to their dead relatives on the Qingming Festival this Friday. To mark the day, Chinese traditionally tend the graves of their departed loved ones and often burn paper money, model houses, cars, mobile phones and other goods as offerings to honour them and keep them comfortable in the afterlife. But paper lingerie has become an increasingly popular offering for dead female relatives, Tan Lay Nah, owner of a paper model shop in the northern island state of Penang, told the Star daily. "Most customers find them cute and would usually add a few sets to go with other paper clothing and items such as dresses, bags and shoes for their female family members to use in the other world," she said. Beers N Noodles toya&iexcl;&shy;..shane ____________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was Jimi Hendrix The album was the Hendrix album that always comes along with me when I pack the pack and head off for a month or two travelling. It's called 'Jimi's Blues' and it's a damn fine album! Great for a long train or bus ride. Simply hit 'repeat' and off you go! _____________________________________________________

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 01

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 01


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 02

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 02


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 03

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 03


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 04

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 04


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 05

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 05


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 06

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 06


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 07

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 07


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 08

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 08


The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 09

The Qing Ming Tomb Sweeping Festival 09

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Login