清明节 The Qingming Festival
The Qingming (Pure Brightness) Festival is one of the 24 solar terms in China, falling on April 4-6 each year. After the festival, the temperature will rise up and rainfall increase. It is the high time for spring plowing and sowing. In the past, the Qingming Festival was called “Arbor Day”, but since 1979, “Arbor Day” was settled on March 12 according to the Gregorian calendar.
But the Qingming Festival is not only a solar term to guide farm work, it is more a festival of commemoration. It sees a combination of sadness and happiness. 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 diseased. On each Qingming Festival, all cemeteries are crowded with people who come to sweep tombs and offer sacrifices, but the customs have been greatly simplified today. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers, then burn incense and ghost money. In short, it’s a time to cherish the memory of our ancestors and show our respect to them. Also, it’s a time for family gathering.
清明节 The Tomb Sweeping Day
The tomb sweeping day is one of the traditional festivals in China. On April 5th, people start to visit their ancestors’ tombs. Generally speaking, people will bring the home-made food, some fake money and paper-made mansion to their ancestors. When they start to honour their ancestor, they will light up some candles and incense, put some flowers around the tombs. The most important thing is to put the home-made food in front of the tombs. The food, also known as sacrifices, is usually made up with a chicken, a fish and some pork. It’s a symbol of the offspring’s respect to the ancestors. People believe that the forbears will share the food with them. The children dedicate the food and money to their forbears in order to show their love and caring. The young offspring will go down on their knees and pray for their ancestors. They can say their wishes in front of the tombs and the ancestors will make their dreams come true.
In some provinces of China, people use different activities to commemorate this day, for instance, spring-outing, swinging, tree planting and making special food. One special food is Ay Tsao rice balls. It looks like Tang-yuan, but its colour is green. Mix the ay tsao juice with the rice powder, then make it into small balls. The Ay Tsao rice ball is done. People believe that eating ay tsao rice balls can get rid of the bad luck and everything will go smoothly. Other activities such as spring outing, tree planting are the other ways to commemorate the forbears. For one thing, it is a sign that people should look into the future and embrace the hope; for another thing, we do hope our ancestor rest in peace.
清明节的意义 The Meaning of Tomb-sweeping Day
China has a long history of more than 5,000 years, so the variety of culture has been preserved. These meaningful cultures are treated as our national treasure. In order to remember them, the government has named the official holiday. Tomb-sweeping Day is one of the meaningful festivals. People have days’ off every year and the families will get together, sweeping their ancestors’ tombs. People believe that they do this can bring good luck, because their ancestors will bless them. Some people question the meaning of this festival, because they think people are superstitious. As for me, I think this day teaches people to in honor of their ancestors and respect the culture. It is not something about superstition, but about showing respect to the culture. We need to pass on our culture from generations, or we will lose our national treasure.