Everything you need to know about Qingming Festival


This Saturday, 4th April marks China's annual QingmingJie, or Tombsweeping Day as it is known in English. This day of commemoration takes place 107 days after the start of the winter, on the 4th or 5th of April, depending on the lunar calendar and is a national holiday in China.


How is it celebrated?


Qingming Jie, also known as Tagqing Jie, began in the Zhou Dynasty over 2500 years ago.. and it is traditionally a day of remembrance, where Chinese people will go outside, spend time in nature with their families and show respect to their ancestors by visiting their graves, repairing them, cleaning them and decorating them with flowers or wreaths.

Often small gifts will be left at the grave, including food, and paper money is sometimes burned whilst family members bow to their ancestors.

Sometimes willow branches are put on doors or gates to ward off wandering evil spirits, as willow is considered magical in Buddhism.

Other traditions include burning incense, flying kites, having picnics and playing sports such as swinging, Cuju (an ancient ball game in China) polo.




In recent times with cremations becoming more popular, families can continue the tradition by visiting temples or shrines to martyrs, and families can sometimes be represented by one or two members of the family given modern-day pressures such as busy life schedules or requirements to work and live away from the family home, and you can even use apps to virtually sweep a relative's tomb if you are not able to be there in person!


What do Chinese people eat for QingmingJie?


In the past, the day before Qingmingjie was known as 'Cold Food Day', but this has, over time, been combined with Tombsweeping day. So, in some places, it is customary to eat cold food on this day. Traditional food for this festival varies between different Chinese regions and is prepared in advance, including sweet green rice balls, Qingming cakes, Qingming snails, eggs and peach blossom porridge.


You might hear people say


• 清明节 (qīng míng Jié /ching-ming jyeh/): Qingming Festival
• 扫墓 (sǎo mù /saow-moo/): sweep tombs
• 祭祖 (jì zǔ /jee dzoo/): worship (sacrifice to) ancestors
• 纸钱 (zhǐ qián /jrr-chyen/): joss paper — paper made to resemble money and burned as an offering to the dead
• 烧香 (shāo xiāng /shaoww-hsyang/): burn joss sticks (incense)

This year on Qingmingjie China will mourn its Codiv-19 victims at 10am - see the below article for more details. And if you want to learn even more about this festival, read about the 'dos and don'ts for Qingmingjie' by Xinhua Net, and about how technology is helping modern Chinese people pay their respects from afar by BBC News by scanning the QR codes below!

'dos and don'ts for QingmingJie'


China to mourn COVID-19 victims on April 4


How technology is helping modern day Chinese people pay their respects from afar

(please connect to vpn first)

A Poem about Qingming Festival




The Mourning Day
Du Mu

Upon the Clear-and-Bright Feast of spring, the rain drizzleth down in spray.
Pedestrians on countryside ways, in gloom are pinning away.
When asked "Where a tavern fair for rest, is hereabouts to be found",
The shepherd boy the Apricot Bloom Vill, doth point to afar and say.

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