The Qingming Festival
Date: April 5th 2015
More Chinese Public Holidays are available to better plan your tour.
Introduction of Qingming Festival
The Qingming Festival (simplified Chinese: 清明节, traditional Chinese: 清明節; pinyin: qīng míng, Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong, Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day) is a traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day after the Spring Equinox, usually falling around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar. Astronomically it is also one of the solar terms. The Qingming festival falls on the first day of the fifth solar term, named Qingming. Its name suggests a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and tend to the graves of departed ones.
Qingming is recognised as a public holiday in Taiwan and in the Chinese jurisdictions of Hong Kong and Macau and was reinstated as a public holiday in mainland China in 2008.
Qingming Festival activities
Tomb sweeping is regarded as the most important custom in the Qingming Festival from which the name "Tomb-sweeping day" derives from. Cleaning the tomb and paying respect to the dead with offerings are the two important parts of remembering past relatives. Weeds around the tomb are cleared away and fresh soil is added to show care. The deceased's favourite food and wine are taken to sacrifice to them, along with paper resembling money. This is all burned in the hope that the deceased are not lacking food and money.
Today, with cremation taking over from burying, the custom has been extremely simplified in cities. Only flowers are presented to the dead relatives and revolutionary martyrs. No matter how the respect is shown, good prayers for the deceased are expressed.
Flying kites is also an important custom enjoyed by many people, young and old, during the Qingming Festival. Kites are not only flown during the day but also in the evening when little coloured lanterns are tied to the kites or to the strings that hold the kites. When kites fly in the evening, the lanterns twinkle like stars in the sky. In the past, people cut the string to let the kite fly freely. This custom is believed to bring good luck and even eliminate diseases.
Sweet Green Rice Balls
The sweet green rice ball is a Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) food popular in Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces. It is also a must-have offering at ancestral rituals in the south of the Yangtze River. The custom of making sweet green rice balls dates back to the Zhou Dynasty over 2,000 years ago. One or two days before the Qingming Festival takes place, civilians designate a time for "cold food days", during which hot cooking is banned.