Qingming Festival

Last Update: 2008-7-31 5:43:00; By noswald

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Qingming Festival
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In China and much of East Asia, the year is divided up into 24 solar terms that represent the climatic changes in of the year, and which are used by peasants to plan and organize their farming activities. Qingming is one of these solar terms.

The Qingming Festival is a very old festival, held during Qingming; normally during the 4th to the 6th of April, according to the lunar calendar.

Qingming is a good time to be outdoors as the plants are returning to life after the hard winter. Indeed, the ancient Chinese enjoyed playing outdoor sports during the Qingming Festival, but even nowadays, the Qingming Festival remains very popular.

The Customs The Festival

The Qingming Festival has many colorful and interesting customs, the most important of which is “Saomu”. Other popular customs include taqing (a spring trip away from home), swinging from trees, cuju (the ancient football game in China), kite flying and more.


Saomu, which means commemorating the dead at their graves, is most commonly practiced among the Han nationality, as well as some other ethnic groups, in China.

According to custom, people should take wine, food, fruits and “zhiqian” (paper made to resemble money) to the graves. The food, fruits and wine should be placed before the grave and zhiqian should be burned at the grave as an offering to the dead.

People also tend the grave by adding some fresh soil and covering it with tender tree branches. The food is then eaten before the people return home.

Swinging from Tress

This is an old but simple and enjoyable activity passed down from ancient China. Swinging is good exercise and a good way to build courage.


Taqing means “Spring Trip” (and was called Tanchu or Xunchun in ancient time). As nature comes to life at this time of year, taking trips away from home, even just for the day, is a very pleasant and popular activity.

Trees planting

Since ancient times, people have planted trees during the Qingming Festival to mark the start of Spring. In 1979, the 12th of March was designated as Tree Planting Day in China.

Kite Flying

Kite flying is another popular activity during the Qingming Festival. People fly their kites day and night. Sometimes, small lanterns are tied onto the kite string, or to the kite itself. The lanterns light up the night sky and are very beautiful

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