Chinese Celebrations: Qingming Festival (Tomb-sweeping Day)

The Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping Day) Festival is one of the 24 seasonal division points in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increases. It is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. But the Qingming Festival is not only a seasonal point to guide farm work, it is more a festival of commemoration.

This is the most important day of sacrifice. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups at this time offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased.

On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people who came to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices. Traffic on the way to the cemeteries becomes extremely jammed.  After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet.

The sweet green rice ball is a Qingming Festival food popular in Jiangsu and Zhejiang province.  One or two days before the Qingming Festival were designated as ‘Cold food days’ so people usually to eat this snack as a tradition.

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