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Chinese Festivals: Qingming Festival

The Qingming festival is a profound and an interesting festival in Chinese culture. The festival falls in April in the solar calendar. The literal meaning of "Qingming" in china means "clear and bright". Traditionally, the Chinese visit graves, crematorium and mausoleums to perform ceremonies, rituals and prayers to honor their ancestors. It is a time when people express grief for the lost of their near and loved ones.

The Qingming festival carries a rich and a profound meaning in Chinese culture. It is the most important day to offer sacrifice to their ancestors.

The people clean the graves, remove the weed and sweep away the leaves from the graveyard. They bring grapes, foods, fruits and "Zhiqian" (money made of paper) and offer to their departed loved ones. They placed the favorite's foods, wines, fruits of the deceased and burn the Zhiqian before the graves. They add new soils and plants in their graveyards and eat the offered food at the end of the event. It is because of this reason that the festival is also known as "Grave sweeping day". It is an important concept in the Chinese culture.

In contrast to the sad atmosphere, the Qingming festival is also a time to celebrate the arrival of spring. The tradition of welcoming the spring season starts from the Tang dynasty .The tradition continues even today in the Chinese culture. It is the time when nature looks lively with the sun shining brightly. The trees and grass becomes green and adds to the beauty of nature. It is a time when people go out and enjoy the beautiful scenes of nature. The whole activity adds joy to the lives of the people. It also improves their health and mind.

People enjoy flying kites during the daytime as well as during the nighttime. Strings of small lanterns are attached to the kite or to the threat. It looks like shining stars and it is named as "god's lanterns". People cut the string and let the kite to fly free in the sky. It is believed that by doing so, it brings good luck and helps to eliminate disease. It is also a time when people plant trees. This is because the surviving rates of the sapling are high and the tree grows very fast. A special feature of the festival is that it is a celebration of sadness and happiness.

The festival is related with the Chinese believe of life after death and the worship of ancestors. They offer food to their ancestors to pleased them and burn paper money to make their ancestors to be wealthy in their life after death. By performing such rituals, it is believed that the families get blessings and could ensure a happy life. Firecrackers are also set off before the rituals to Scare off the evil spirits. People generally eat "cold foods" during the festival.

Even today, the Qingming festival is an important cultural festival in china. It is not only a day of remembrance but it is also a time to enjoy the beauty of nature and welcome a new life.

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