Qingming Festival is one of the important Chinese traditional festivals.
It is called Pure and Bright Festival by many, because Qing means pure and Ming means bright (the name was translated directly to its English equivalent). The two characters can be put together or separate as Qing Ming.
Qing Ming normally falls around April 5th every year. Like some other traditional Chinese holidays or festivals, you need a Chinese Lunar Calendar to help you know which date it will be if you're using a Gregorian calendar.
It is the day for people to go to cemeteries or burial sites of the important ones in their life to pay respect, offerings, tears and loving thoughts. It's a tradition that started from the Zhou Dynasty, with a history of over 2500 years. That's way it is called Tomb-sweeping Day.
The common Chinese ways for this occasion are taking weeds away from the tomb site, burning paper money, offering real food, wine and fruits in a symbolic way, playing firecrackers and having a special meal there if possible.
Qingming is one of the 24 solar terms in China, indicating the coming of late spring, thus the best plowing and growing time, while "Cold Food Day" is a day when folks sweep the ancestors' tombs and eat cold food. Qingming was adjacent to Cold Food Day, so later on they gradually became one festival, and thus "Cold Food" became another name for Qingming, and dusting the tomb and eating cold food turned into the customs of the day. Qingming has evolved into a festival carrying rich culture and profound meaning.
The meal is prepared with a local wild grown veggie and rice back to decades ago in suburban area. Now with the ban of firecrackers in many cities and the expansion of urban development, this traditional way is disappearing.
Because at this time of the year, the weather is getting warmer, people also like to take this opportunity to enjoy nature, especially for those who live in a city. There is a poetic word for it: Ta Qing, meaning "step on the green".
Walking on the green field isn't the only thing people do; kite flying is also a common scene in some areas. It is a day for a family outing, to show their care for the deceased, to relax, to reflect, to connect with the past and the future.
In recent years, many people and local authorities have also been going to the burial places of the revolutionary martyrs to pay respect. In this case, it's kind of like the Memorial Day in America.
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