Qingming festival in China

The Chinese government has proclaimed seven national holidays in China. One of them is the Qingming Festival, which usually falls on the 4th or 5th of April, following the Gregorian calendar. Firstly, the Qingming Festival is known to be one of the twenty-four solar periods followed by the Chinese in their traditional lunisolar calendar.

Qingming is the first day of the fifth solar period, which is the perfect time and season for people to go outside and enjoy the spring weather. For this, it is also called the Pure Brightness or Clear Bright Festival. It is also during this festival that people pay respect to their dead by visiting their graves and cleaning their tombs. Hence, it is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day.

The Qingming Festival has its origins in 476 B.C., in honor of a man named Jie Zitui. Jie Zitui was a loyal companion of Lord Wen during his many years of exile. The time came when there was no more food and in order to save his lord from starvation, Jie cut off a piece of flesh from his own thigh to feed his lord. After nineteen long years of exile, Wen was able to go back to his position of power, while Jie remained in the mountains and lived there with his mother.

Wen was bothered by his conscience for not rewarding Jie after all that he had done and sacrificed just to help bring Wen back to power. He couldn’t locate Jie in the mountains and he ordered the mountain to be burned to find Jie. But what the fire did was kill Jie and his mother. This made him, even more, remorse, and then he declared that day as Hanshi Day or a day when there would be no fire and only cold food could be eaten. Hanshi Day now falls a day before the Qingming Festival.

During this festival, the main activity is cleaning tombs and bringing the departed one’s favorite foods and drinks. Here the people offer prayers and kowtow or kneel and bow their heads until it touches the ground to show respect. They also burn incense and paper money in the fervent hope that their ancestors are not in need of anything.

To balance this state of sadness and reflection, the Qingming Festival is also a time for happiness, relaxation, and enjoyment of the great outdoors. People can be seen going on picnics and spring outings to enjoy the sun, the flowers, the trees, and the breeze which is perfect during this particular time. What makes this festival a great attraction, especially for tourists, is flying kites during the day and night.

At night people attach small lanterns to the strings of the kites and this makes even more breathtaking spectacle during the night time. It is expected that after the festival, the weather will change dramatically by giving some frequent rainfalls and make the weather cold. So it is during the Qingming when natives and tourists alike are given the best chance to enjoy the celebration.
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  • Max Coutinho
    Max Coutinho October 3, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Hey Kalyan,

    I love the way Indian movies have such beautiful visuals: the colours are beautiful; the actors are gorgeous; the sets are colourful and sophisticated...and needless to mention the wardrobes.

    I can only guess that the script is worthwhile as well :D.

    Thanks for sharing this and enriching our culture.


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