Qing Ming Festival
Photo Courtesy of China Digital Times
Qing Ming Festival (清明节), also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a Chinese holiday set aside for commemorating and paying respects to one's ancestors. Usually falling on April 4th or 5th of each year, this day is one of both sadness and remembrance as many family members travel to the gravesite of deceased loved ones.
One important activity during this gravesite visit involves cleaning the tombs by getting rid of any surrounding weeds and adding fresh soil to show care for the dead. Another includes presenting offerings of the deceased's favorite food, alcohol, flowers, and paper resembling money. These items are all burned in the hopes that the loved one is not lacking in necessities in the next life. Today, with cremation becoming increasingly prevalent, the custom has become extremely simplified with offerings of flowers and good prayers.
Photo Courtesy of The Telegraph
Not only is the Qing Ming Festival a time to commemorate the dead, but also, to welcome in the warmer spring weather and highlight the joys of life. Everything in nature comes back to life as trees turn green, flowers blossom, and the sun shines brightly. People often spend the day venturing on spring outings to appreciate the beautiful scenes of nature. Kite flying is also a popular activity where flyers cut the string while the kite is still in the sky to let it fly free — an act which is said to bring good luck. All in all, the Qing Ming Festival is a day of both mourning and of celebration.