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Qingming Festival 2018
QingMing Festival, also called Tomb Sweeping Day or Pure Brightness in English, usually falls on April 4 or 5. Qingming (清明) is the second of 24 solar terms on the traditional Chinese solar calendar. It is also a time for people to go outside and start enjoying the greenery of spring.
In 2018, the QingMing Festival falls on April 5. The public holiday in China is April 5, 2018. Many people have holiday vacation from April 5 to April 7.
The Most Important Day of Sacrifice.
QingMing Festival is a traditional Chinese festival and an important day of sacrifice for most people (including the Han Chinese and China's 55 other ethnic minorities) to go and sweep tombs and commemorate their ancestors. On this day, tomb sweeping is one of the most important and popular activities to show respect to ancestors.
On May 20, 2006, the festival was listed as one of the first national intangible cultural heritage events.
How Do Chinese Celebrate the QingMing Festival?
There are various activities for QingMing Festival. The most popular ones such as tomb upkeep and repair, spring outings, kite flying, and putting willow branches on gates have been an important part of this festival since the beginning.
Tomb Sweeping — the Most Important Custom of QingMing Festival.
People commemorate and show respect to their ancestors by visiting their graves, offering food, tea or wine, burning incense, burning or offering joss paper (representing money), etc. They sweep the tombs, remove weeds, and add fresh soil to the graves. They might stick willow branches, flowers, or plastic plants on the tomb.
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
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.
That 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 is also called Taqing Festival. Taqing (踏青 /taa-ching/ 'tread green') means a spring outing, when people get out and enjoy the spring blossoms.
The festival usually falls on a day not long before everything turns green in the north, and well into the spring flower season in the south.
It marks the beginning of the season when people spend more time outside as the weather warms up.
Flying kites is also an important custom enjoyed by many people, young and old, during the QingMing Festival. The uniqueness of kite flying during the QingMing Festival lies in that kites are not only flown during the day but also in the evening.
Little colored lanterns are tied to the kites or to the strings that hold the kites. When kites fly in the evening, the lanterns look like twinkling stars.
In the past, people cut the string to let the kite fly freely. People believe that this custom can bring good luck and eliminate diseases. This is why you might sometimes find paper kites lying on the ground in parks and fields.
Kite flying is popular throughout all of China and you will see people doing it on big squares or in parks throughout the entire country. Learn more about Chinese kites.
Foods for QingMing Festival
Sweet Green Rice Balls are one of the most traditional QingMing foods.
The day before Tomb Sweeping Day was the traditional Chinese Cold Food Day. As time passed, the two festivals were gradually combined into one. On the cold food festival day, people used no fire and only ate cold food. Now people in some places still have the custom of eating cold food on QingMing Festival.
Different places have different foods for QingMing Festival. The traditional QingMing festival foods include sweet green rice balls, peach blossom porridge, crispy cakes, QingMing snails, and eggs. These foods are usually cooked one or two days before the arrival of the QingMing Festival so people can eat during the holidays.
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