Qingming Festival

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Qingming Festival, Clear Bright Day, or Ancestors Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox, usually occurring around 5 April of the Gregorian calendar. It is similar to the All Souls’ Day in western church, in order to memorise the dead. Chinese is deeply influenced by the Confucianism and advocate the filial duty. These also apply to the ancestor. Since ancient times, Chinese people worship their ancestors. With developing of society, people’s attitude toward this festival is also changing.

Qingming festival originated from Hanshi Day (literally, Day with cold food only), a memorial day for Jie Zitui who was a faithful man during the Warring States Period. Qingming has a tradition stretching back more than 2,500 years. Its origin is credited to the Tang Emperor Xuanzong in 732. In Tang Dynasty, wealthy citizens preferred using high price to hold expensive ceremonies in honour to their ancestors. This emperor urged people to honour the ancestors on this day to avoid extravagant and waste. Since that time, Qingming Festival became a public day.

In the past, because of the familism, people would be a bit mournful on this day. Generally, young and old would pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, joss paper accessories and libation to the ancestors. Some people, especially farmers, would carry willow branches with them on Qingming, or put willow branches on their gates or front door. They believed that willow branches help ward off the evil spirit that wanders on Qingming. This day was also a start of the spring plowing.

Today, Qingming Festival has changed a lot. The sad atmosphere decrease and there are more laugh and fun. After sweeping the tombs, little kids will fly kite on the grass and adults like gather together to have a nice talk. This day is also a family day. People will have a feast with the whole family on this day and even find out some strange faces. In some...
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