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Beautiful views of the 24 solar terms (5)

(People's Daily Online)

08:57, May 24, 2012

Clear and Bright

Edited and translated by Xue Meng, People's Daily Online

Clear and Bright

“Clear and Bright” is not only a solar term but also a traditional festival in China, the Qingming Festival. It comes around April 5 each year when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 15 degrees. The temperature continues to increase and farmers get busier with farming. At this point, the princess tree starts to bloom, the filed mouse is gone and rainbow often appears after rain.
One of the most important activities on this day is to tend graves to honor ancestors, dead relatives and friends. In addition, as the spring comes and everywhere gets green, people often go picnicking, hiking, play kites or plant willows.

Traditional Customs
Important Qingming customs include:
- Sweeping the tomb, eating cold food and no fire allowed. Qingming Festival is originated from the Cold Food Day, a festival created by Chong’er, a prince from the Spring and Autumn Period in ancient China. Chong’er used to have a very loyal official named Jie Zitui, who even cut his own flesh off his leg to save the dying prince during the hard times. When Chong’er ascended the throne, he almost forgot about his savior Jie and Jie left the palace and lived in the forest with his mother. Desperate to find Jie, Chong’er finally set a fire in the forest to force Jie back but at last he only found the burned body of Jie and his mother, together with a note written in blood saying, “I cut off my own flesh to dedicate to you, only to wish my king will always be clear and bright.” Chong’er felt very so guilty and named the Cool Food Day when all people must eat cold food and no fire or smoke is allowed. Later this Cold Food Day became the Qingming festival where people held remembrances events for their ancestors.
- Conducting outdoor activities.
- Some other traditional rules carried out by people in old times: No needles allowed. No laundry activities allowed. Woman not allowed going outside on this day. People drew a grey line outside the door to prevent “ghost” into the house before dusk.

Healthy Living Tips
The traditional Chinese medical theory believes that this period is the perfect time for people to absorb Yang Qi into human’s body. Everything which may consume or block one’s Yang Qi should be avoided. People are suggested to take more exercises such as jogging, gymnastics, hiking. Although the old custom of eating cold food is still popular in some areas, not everyone’s body is suitable for doing so, especially those who have weak stomach. People should eat more fruits and vegetables such as chives, Chinese cabbage and radish.

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