The QinMing Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)

Medea Ch.Apr 4, 2020 · 2 min read

The QingMing Festival (清明節)is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day and Cold Food Festival, it is an important Chinese culture followed by Han Chinese of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and by the Chitty of Malaysia and Singapore.

The QingMing Festival often occurs on the first day of the fifth solar term of the lunar calendar. People usually plan to visit the graves of their relatives in the week or in the ten days following the actual date of the QingMing Festival Day, which is no must to be on April 5. They will tidy up around the grave site, and place fresh flowers to their honour ancestors to express the gratitude for their parents or grandparents.

(Image from Flickr user MINIQQ)

People also reach the grave site and make ritual by dawn, since the transitional period from night to day is considered the best time for communication between the lifeworld and the spirit realm. The tradition believes that rites and prayers in hopes can help the spirits of their departed family members.

(Image from Flickr user Dionysus Peng)

People offer food, tea or wind, burning incense and joss paper when they making ritual. For the food, it is better to bring the food that relative loved in life. Also, making sure the food is not enclosed in wrappings or boxes, and making the food accessible is considered a sign of sincerity during the ritual so that spirits can access food. For flowers, lilies or chrysanthemums are the appropriate choices. According to tradition, some people would place willow branches on the gate or front door to ward off wandering evil spirits during QinMing Festival, like the old saying: “Put willow branches on gates; drive ghosts away from the house”.For joss paper, it would be better making paper fold when you burning it to spirits getting it faster.

(image from Liberty Times Net, Journalist: Tsai, Su Uan)

Furthermore, there is something you need to be aware of during sweeping the tomb. For example, the pregnant woman, very young children and sick family member should avoid visiting the tomb site due to the wandering evil spirits might take them as an exchange target.

To avoiding extremely bright colours, like yellow, red, orange and neon. Colour. The bright colour might be regarded as gaudy and offensive to the spirits of family members.

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