China's ancient custom on this day

15:17, April 01, 2010      

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Apart from the activities of Qingming Festival that are still celebrated in modern times, including paying respect to ancestors, sweeping tombs, flying kites and family outings, there were many interesting activities and entertainments in ancient times to celebrate this festival.

Qian Gou (牵钩)/tug-of-war

It is said that during the period of Spring and Autumn in ancient China, the Duke of Chu ordered their people to play the game of Qian Gou (牵钩)/tug-of-war to improve their physical quality to prepare for attacking Wu. And the game of tug-of-war is still very popular in modern times.

Shooting willow (射柳)

It's a game of practicing archers' skills. According to records in Ming dynasty, the game was played by putting pigeons into gourds and hanging them in willow trees. Then, archers would shoot the gourds to let pigeons fly out and deciding win or lose due to the height of pigeons' flying.

Cu Ju (蹴鞠)/ancient Chinese football

Cu Ju (蹴鞠) is the former form of football, and it started during the Shang dynasty in ancient China. The ball was made from leather and filled with fur and feather The game entered civilians' lives since Warring States, became a fitness form among military soldiers in Han dynasty and got very popular among average people in Tang and Song dynasty, but there are few records of this game being played during the Qing dynasty.

Cock fighting (斗鸡)

The cock fighting was a very popular activity in ancient China. People usually did cock fighting from the Qingming to the Summer Solstice (solar term in Chinese lunar calendar). In Tang dynasty, cocking fighting was very popular both among civilians and royal families. It is said that Emperor Xuan Zong was a huge fan of this game.

Playing on the swing (荡秋千)

The game was originated very early and primarily among girls. It was very popular since period of Northern and Southern dynasties, and more popular among both boys and girls in Tang dynasty. It is said that playing on a swing could eliminate diseases. Moreover, the higher one plays, the happier his life would be.

By People's Daily Online


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