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Qingming Festival

By Yan Shengnan (People's Daily Online)    10:20, April 05, 2019

The Qingming Festival comes after the Spring Equinox as the fifth of China’s 24 solar terms. It is the only solar term which is celebrated with a three-day national holiday. As the ancient book Suishibaiwan records, the name originates from the saying “plants start to revive and prosper at Qingming in a clean and bright way. Thus, the festival is called Qingming”, which means clean and bright.

The two main activities over the festival include tomb sweeping and going on a spring outing. Tomb sweeping aims to commemorate family ancestors while going on a spring outing allows everyone the chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and enjoy the season.

Traditional food

Zhejiang: Qingtuan, a green rice ball tiny enough to fit into your palm, it is also called Qingmingguo or Aiguo. Qingtuan is popular in the southern regions of the Yangtze River. It is a mixture of glutinous rice powder and green vegetable juice, stuffed with sweetened bean paste. Qingtuan tastes sweet with the fresh aroma of Aicao, a green spring vegetable.

Shaanxi: Huamo. In celebration of Qingming, people from Shaanxi make steamed buns, known as Huamo, made into different shapes. With each distinct look comes a good omen. Some are for peaceful family life while others represent the wish for health.

Traditional customs

Tomb sweeping

The tradition of tomb sweeping originates from the Qin Dynasty. On this day, the whole family gathers in front of their ancestral tombs. They offer fruit and wine to their ancestors, clean the weeds from around the tomb and burn joss paper. Finally, they kowtow and pray, hoping for their ancestors’ blessing for the rest of the year.

Spring outing

The time around the Qingming Festival is one of the most suitable seasons for a spring outing, as plants are thriving and flowers are blooming. People can have a great time outdoors with their friends and family. Playing football and flying kites are popular activities.

Planting willow branches

During the Qingming Festival, people also break a branch of willow and plant it in front of their gate. This is said to dispel evil spirits and help bring good luck. People of all ages may also wear fresh willow twigs to retain some of the clear spring air. 

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(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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