Cattolica Chinese Students Association - Qingming Festival

Qingming Festival, also known as Ancestor’s Day, is a traditional Chinese festivity which is celebrated 104 days after winter solstice (which in the Gregorian calendar it usually falls in the 4 or 5 of April).

The festivity is a mix between joy and sorrow

During this recurrence, Chinese citizens are granted with three days of vacations, during which they can carry out various activities; the most relevant one is Tomb-Sweeping, but it doesn’t lack also of activities such as: trips out of town, flying kites or spending some time with family members.

Tomb-Sweeping (扫墓)

The Qingming festival is comparable to out festivity called “All Soul’s Day”, where is custom to visit your deceased relatives, bringing gifts such as flowers and tealights. On the other hand, Chinese people must take care of the resting place of their relatives, cleaning their tomb and making offers. The Chinese term for “Tomb-Sweeping” is “Saomu” (扫墓).
Among the offerings we can commonly find the favourite food and drink of the loved one, Joss papers, Joss sticks, and even performances of dance and songs.

Spring trips and kites

The Qingming festival is not only a day dedicated to the commemoration of passed ones. But thanks to the awakening of the spring, In China the Ancestor’s Day also gains the meaning of “Joy of Life”, dedicated to the awakening of the body after the long winter months.
In order to dedicate time to our health, these three days of vacations results optimal in organizing trips to other cities or to natural parks, where we can observe the beauty of the spring landscape.
An activity that brings a lot of curiosity is kite flying, because they are of many shapes and colours: going from big dragons to small and delicate butterflies, from a phoenix to classical kites, and even sometime there are kites resembling the mask of the Beijing opera ( Jingju “京劇” ).


Did you know that Qingming Festival has also an important meaning In the Chinese tea culture? Because the green tea made of leaves that are harvested before the Qingming date, are classified as “Pre-Qingming”, a denomination that leads to higher prices, because the experts consider it a more delicate flavour compared to the green tea made with usual leaves.

Did you know that a traditional food for this festivity is the Qingtuan (青团)? It is a sweet made of rice flour, and it has an inner stuffing of red bean paste. They are sweet and soft, with a glutinous consistency and a really unique taste.

The Qingming Festival is a annual recurrence with unique characteristics, because it joins the sorrow and tear for passed ones with the laugh and happiness of the spring.

Written by Michele Fogliata
Translated in English by Michele Fogliata

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