The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal
division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the
festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases. It
is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. But the Qingming
Festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work, it is
more a festival of commemoration.
The Qingming Festival sees a combination of sadness and
This is the most important day of sacrifice. Both the Han and
minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their
ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased. Also, they will not
cook on this day and only cold food is served.
The Hanshi (Cold Food) Festival was usually one day before the
Qingming Festival. As our ancestors often extended the day to the
Qingming, they were later combined.
On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people
who came to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices. Traffic on the way to
the cemeteries becomes extremely jammed. The customs have been
greatly simplified today. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people
offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense
and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet.
In contrast to the sadness of the tomb sweepers, people also
enjoy hope of Spring on this day. The Qingming Festival is a time
when the sun shines brightly, the trees and grass become green and
nature is again lively. Since ancient times, people have followed
the custom of Spring outings. At this time tourists are
People love to fly kites during the Qingming Festival. Kite
flying is actually not limited to the Qingming Festival. Its
uniqueness lies in that people fly kites not during the day, but
also at night. A string of little lanterns tied onto the kite
or the thread look like shining stars, and therefore, are
called "god's lanterns."
The Qingming Festival is also a time to plant trees, for the
survival rate of saplings is high and trees grow fast later. In the
past, the Qingming Festival was called "Arbor Day". But since 1979,
"Arbor Day" was settled as March 12 according to the Gregorian