Qingming 2014 ( 清明节 2014) – The Chinese Tomb Sweeping Festival
Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day is a Chinese festival during which Chinese people to sweep and clean the tombs of their ancestors. Besides Tomb Sweeping Day, some countries call this festival as Qingming Festival, Ancestors Day, Pure Brightness Festival, Chinese Memorial Day, Cheng Beng and many others.
When is Qing Ming 2014?
Qingming 2014 falls on Saturday, 5 April 2014. Qing Ming or Tomb Sweeping Day always falls on the 5th solar term – April 4 or April 5. In fact, Qing Ming occurs on 104th day after the Chinese winter solstice or Dongzhi festival.
The Origin of Qing Ming
The beginning of Qing Ming was based on a sad story about a man whose name was Jie Zitui, a faithful servant of a Duke named Wen. Jie was so faithful that when his lord and him could hardly find any food, he prepared a meat soup made of his own thigh. His lord found out that Jie had sacrificed his own thigh for him, then he promised Jie that once he succeeded in becoming King, he would reward Jie for his loyalty.
Jie who didn’t want any reward resigned not long after his lord became a Duke and lived in a forest with his mother. The Duke looked for Jie, but he couldn’t find him so that he ordered his servants to burn the forest in order to force Jie out. Unfortunately, the fire didn’t only force Jie to get out of the forest but also killed him. Then, the remorseful Duke Wen ordered the villagers not to use fire and eat only cold food for three days to commemorate Jie’s death.
The Tradition of Qingming
Previously, people celebrates Qingming Day by eating cold food, but now the traditions develop into sweeping the ancestors’ tombs, offering food and drinks, and even presenting some expensive things like bag or gadgets on the tombs. Those things are meant to be received by the deceased ancestors in their realm.
The other traditions are done by farmers who put a willow branch in front of the doors or gates of their houses to wipe out the evil spirit. The last common thing done by people during the Tomb Sweeping Day is flying colorful kites. Usually, people also put small lanterns in the kites so that the kites will flicker on the sky.
Despite the seemingly sad history of Qingming, Chinese worldwide generally welcome the celebration of the festival as it is also an occasion of family reunion. Qingming 2014 will be a popular festival in China, Hongkong, Taiwan, Macau, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Qingming is also known as Ching Ming (same pronunciation).
Wish you the best in celebrating Qingming 2014.