April 4 (the 23rd of the second lunar month) marks the arrival of the fifth solar term of this year – Qingming (Clear and Bright). Of all 24 solar terms, Qingming is the only one whose first day is also a traditional Chinese festival, Qingming Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day. The name “clear” and “bright” describes the weather during this period. Temperatures begin to rise and rainfall increases, making it a crucial time for plowing and sowing in the spring.

 

话说中国节:清明 Festive China: Qingming / chinadaily

 

As an occasion integrating solar term and folk festival, Qingming Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day is an embodiment of the traditional concept of “the unity of man and nature”. Ancestor worshipping and spring outing are two major customs of Qingming Festival: people commemorate the deceased and unite the living by cleaning the tombs and paying respect to the late relatives with offerings; meanwhile, people engage in spring outing activities to be close to nature and cherish life. Spring outing was once a major custom of Shangsi Festival (Double Third Festival); while tomb-sweeping was originally conducted on the day before Qingming Festival, known as Hanshi Festival (Cold Food Festival), and became a part of the customs of Qingming Festival in the Tang dynasty. Since the Song and Yuan dynasties, Qingming Festival has evolved into a traditional festival incorporating a number of practices and customs of both Hanshi Festival and Shangsi Festival.

 

Qingtuan (glutinous rice ball mixed with Chinese mugwort or barley grass)

 

Other traditions of Qingming Festival include flying kites, wearing willow garland, hanging willow branches on doors and eating qingtuan (glutinous rice ball mixed with Chinese mugwort or barley grass), etc. Some parts of southern China also preserve the tradition of offering sacrifices to the Goddess of Silkworm and holding Silkworm Flower Temple Fair. Therefore, Qingming Festival is celebrated with tears shed for the deceased and laughter in spring outings.

 

Lizhong Water Forest Park

 

Spring in Gushan Mountain / Ye Jiang

 

Qiuxue Lake / Yin Kai

 

Qin Lake National Wetland Park

 

Qianduo (Raised Wetland Fields) Scenic Area

 

With gentle breeze and sprouting willows, Qingming is the best time for spring outing. It is also the time to worship ancestors and commemorate the deceased. People in Maoshan, Xinghua, Jiangsu province hold Maoshan Boat Fair as their way to celebrate Qingming Festival.

 

Video provided by China Xinhua News Network Corporation

 

Sources:

http://www.ihchina.cn/

China Daily

中国文化网

江苏省文化和旅游厅

 


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