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Qingming – Ching Ming Festival: Chinese Traditional Tomb-Sweeping Day (2024)

The Qingming – Ching Ming Festival is an ethnic Chinese festival observed in mainland China. In 2024, the Qingming Day is on 4th, April. The ChingMing Festival has been celebrated to remember ancestors between April 4 and April 6 since 732, 1291 years ago. The Ching Ming Festival is an ethnic Chinese festival observed in mainland China. Want to know the historical origins and customs of the Qingming Ching Ming Festival? Let’s read this article together.

Part 1: Ancestral Tomb Cleaning and Opinions: Qingming Ching Ming Festival Customs and Traditions

QingMing Ching Ming Festival

The origins of the Qingming Ching Ming Festival are more than 2500 years old. In 2008, it became a public holiday in mainland China. Qingming Festival family gatherings happen on this day. Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors. They clean gravesites and make ritual offerings to their ancestors. Offerings include traditional dishes and the burning of joss sticks and joss paper.

This early spring festival brings families together to celebrate beyond reserving their ancestors. They play games, fly kites, plant flowers and trees, and more. The official names of the festival are:

  • Qingming Jie (清明节)
  • Qingming Festival
  • Ching Ming Festival (清明节)
  • Tomb-Sweeping Day 

Part 2: Origin of QingMing Ching Ming Festival Customs

QingMing Ching Ming Festival Customs

There is a legend about the origin of the Qingming Ching Ming Festival that shows its relevance to a mountain near Pingyao Ancient Town called Mianshan. This is also called Jieshan after Jie Zitui protected the prince of the State of Jin, Chong Er. He cut meat from his thigh and cooked it for the prince to prevent his death from starvation. Nineteen years later, the prince took power and rewarded all his followers, but he forgot Jie Zitui. The duke felt ashamed and started finding him.

As Jie was hard to find in the mountains, a person jealous of him set the mountain on fire. Duke found the burned bodies of Jie and his mother. The duke regretted that day and designated the day as the ‘Cold Food Festival’. It was the day before the Qingming Ching Ming Festival, and people celebrated with cold foods and banned fire on that day to commemorate this legend.

Part 3: Qingming ChingMingModern Celebrations of Tomb-Sweeping Day

Tomb-Sweeping Day

A modern-day Qingming Ching Ming Festival is a reflection of those who have passed. Families observe different rituals to keep memories of their ancestors alive. They visit graves and tidy them up. They sweep and pull weeds from places where their loved ones last resided and make repairs if necessary. They place fresh flowers on their graves and food offerings. Families also place willow branches to ward off unwelcome ghosts.

People may also burn paper money and objects such as cars, houses, clothes, and jewelry to support the happiness of their loved ones in the afterlife. They may also burn incense and light firecrackers to scare away evil ghosts and alert their ancestors to their family’s presence during the Qingming Ching Ming festival. 

Part 4: Things Not to Do When Tomb Cleaning

There are certain things to avoid doing on this special day – Qingming Ching Ming Festival.

  • Don’t take photos of tombs during the Qingming Ching Ming Festival, as it is considered disrespectful and brings bad luck.
  • It is inauspicious to clean the tomb after 3 p.m. So avoid cleaning after this time.
  • Avoid wearing bright colors or skimpy clothes.
  • There is an order to celebrate the Qingming Ching Ming Festival, and that includes renovation of the tomb, powering of incense and sacrifices, toasting the deceased, and bowing in worship. Don’t reverse this order of celebrating the festival.
  • Don’t laugh loudly during the Qingming Ching Ming Festival, as it is considered disrespectful.
  • Don’t visit friends and family, as Tomb Sweeping Day is dedicated to ancestral veneration.
  • Don’t become a part of others’ tomb-sweeping, as it brings back luck.

Part 5: Spring Outings and Kite Flying During the Qingming Ching Ming Festival

The significance of spring outings during the Qingming Ching Ming Festival is great for the overall Chinese tradition. It is also called Taqing Day, which means a spring outing. People get together and go out to enjoy the spring blossoms. The festival falls nearly on days when everything turns green in the north. Spring flower season is probably in full swing in the south.

Spending more time outside warms people up in this scenario. Flying kites is an activity to relax during this holiday season. It means an activity to get rid of misfortune. Families, together, make their days count in their lives. This shows the level of how people enjoy time together. I’m relishing activities. 

Part 6: Traditional Foods of Qingming Ching Ming Festival

Traditional Foods of Qingming Ching Ming Festival

Foods are different based on location on this day. These traditional foods include:

Sweet Green Rice Balls:

This is a popular Qingming Ching Ming food. It is prepared with a mixture of glutinous rice powder and green vegetable juice. These ingredients are stuffed with sweetened bean paste. These rice balls are jade-green in color, glutinous in taste, and sweet in aroma.

Qingming Ching Ming Cakes:

This crispy fried food is made of wheat flour or glutinous rice flour, eggs, sesame, onion, salt, and other ingredients during the Qingming Ching Ming Festival. This dish is famed for its great variety and many flavors in different Chinese ethnicities, such as the Dongxiang in Gansu, the Naxi in Yunnan, and the Uygur in Xinjiang.

Qingming Ching Ming Zong:

This food item is popular as a takeout dish. These rice dumplings are filled with pork, chestnut, and red beans and wrapped in bamboo leaves. 

Part 7: FAQs About Qingming Ching Ming Festival 

Is it appropriate to say “Happy Qingming Festival”?

It is unlike days in other religions and traditions to wish on their kind of Eid day. The China Qingming Ching Ming Festival is to commemorate ancestors. They indulge in activities that bring them together and rituals that associate them with their ancestors, but respectfully. Therefore, it is not suitable to greet others with words such as “joy,” “merry,” and more.

What are the traditional foods of the Qingming Ching Ming Festival?

Festival-specific foods depend on the place. The traditional Qingming Ching Ming festival offers a variety of dishes, including sweet green rice balls, crispy cakes, and Qingming Ching Ming Zong. These foods are often cooked a couple of days before the festival to celebrate and create during the holidays.

Part 8: Summary

The China Qingming Ching Ming Festival is an annual celebration of the memories of ancestors. People show love for their dead loved ones through different rituals. Tomb Sweeping is the most important thing during this festival, but Chinese also like spring outings, kite flying, and food dishes make the holiday season a perfect mix of relaxation and misfortune. Eventually, it is about one thing: family! 

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