Qingming Festival 清明节


Chinese Name: 清明节

English Name: Qingming Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day

Time & Duration: Gregorian calendar around 5 April

Customs: Eating Green Rice Balls (Chinese: 吃青团子), Putting Willow Branches on Gates (Chinese: 插柳), Sweeping the Tombs (Chinese: 扫墓), etc.

Qingming Festival 清明节
Qingming Festival 清明节

Brief introduction

The Qingming Festival 清明节 originated from the ancestral beliefs and spring sacrifice rituals in ancient times. It is the grandest ancestor worship festival of the Chinese nation. Qingming Festival has both natural and humanistic connotations. It is both a natural solar term and a traditional festival.

Tomb-sweeping, ancestor worship and green outing are the two major ritual themes of Qingming Festival. These two traditional ritual themes have been passed down in China since ancient times and have not stopped until now.

Qingming Festival 清明节

Qingming Festival is an ancient festival of the Chinese nation. It is not only a solemn festival to sweep graves and worship ancestors, but also a festival for people to get close to nature, go out and enjoy spring. Since the time is the Qingming solar term 清明节气, it is a good time for the outskirts to take a youth parade and go to the tomb of the Qing Dynasty.

Tomb-sweeping Festival is a traditional major spring festival. It is a fine tradition of the Chinese nation since ancient times. It is a fine tradition of the Chinese nation since ancient times. The Qingming Festival integrates natural solar terms and human customs. It is the unity of the right time, place and people. It fully reflects the thinking of the ancestors of the Chinese nation to adapt to the time and place and follow the laws of nature.

The origin of the Qingming Festival

The festival originated from the Cold Food Festival which remembered Jie Zhitui介子推, a nobleman of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period. Amid the Li Ji Unrest, he followed his master Prince Chong’er in 655 BC to exile among the Di tribes and around China. Supposedly, he once even cut flesh from his own thigh to provide his lord with soup.

Ten years later, Chong’er became the King of the state of Jin. He was generous in rewarding those who had helped him in his time of need. Except for Jie Zitui, he chose to retire to the forest around Mount Mian with his elderly mother. Chong’er tried to find Jie Zitui by burning mountains, which cause Jie Zitui and his mother to be killed. Chong’er was overcome with remorse and erected a temple in his honour. The people of Shanxi subsequently revered Jie Zitui as an immortal.

The present importance of the holiday is credited to Emperor Xuanzong of Tang 唐玄宗. Wealthy citizens in China were reportedly holding too many extravagant and ostentatiously expensive ceremonies in honour of their ancestors. In AD 732, Xuanzong sought to curb this practice by declaring that such respects could be formally paid only once a year, on Qingming.

Folk-Custom Activity

Go hiking

The Chinese nation has had the custom of going hiking on the Qingming Festival since ancient times. This seasonal folk activity of outing has a long history in our country. Its source is the custom of welcoming spring in ancient farming sacrifices. This kind of custom of welcoming spring in farming sacrifices has a far-reaching influence on later generations. People play in the mountains and countryside during their grave-sweeping journey.

Qingming Festival 清明节
Go hiking 郊游

Eating Green Rice Balls 吃青团子

Green Rice Balls are a popular Qingming food that are made of a mixture of glutinous rice powder and green vegetable juice and stuffed with sweetened bean paste. Sweet green rice balls are jade-green in colour, glutinous in taste, and sweet in aroma. In addition, Green Rice Balls are also an essential food used by people in the Jiangnan area to pray to their ancestors. Because of this, Green Rice Balls are particularly important in the folk food customs in the Jiangnan area.

Qingming Festival 清明节
Eating Green Rice Balls 吃青团子

Because riddles can inspire wisdom and cater to the festive atmosphere, so many people responded, and then riddles gradually became an indispensable program for the Lantern Festival. The lantern riddles add to the festive atmosphere, showing the ingenuity of the ancient working people and their yearning for a better life.

Sweeping the Tombs 扫墓

In the country’s Confucian culture, where filial piety is central, millions of Chinese people traditionally flock to cemeteries on Ching Ming Festival to pay respect to their ancestors, clean their tombs, burn paper money and symbolically offer food and drinks to the dead.

Qingming Festival 清明节
Sweeping the Tombs 扫墓

They pray before their ancestors’ graves and beseech them to bless their families. However, the custom has been greatly simplified today, especially in cities, where many people only put flowers to the dead relatives.

Putting Willow Branches on Gates  插柳

During the Qingming Festival, some people wear soft willow branches and place the branches on gates and front doors. People believe that this custom will ward off wandering evil spirits during Qingming.

The willows are considered magical is mainly a Buddhist influence. Traditional pictures of the Goddess of Mercy Guanyin often show her seated on a rock with a willow branch in a vase of water at her side. The goddess used this mysterious water and branch to scare away demons.

Qingming Festival 清明节
Putting Willow Branches on Gates  插柳

According to historical records, there is an old saying: “Put willow branches up on gates; drive ghosts away from houses.”

Qingming Festival (清明节)

Qingming 清明

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