Photo by ChrisY
The Qing ming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day ( All Souls Day in English) falls on Friday April 4, 2008
Qing ming is frequently mentioned in Chinese literature. Among these, the most famous one is probably Du Mu’s poem (simply titled “Qing ming”):
清明時節雨紛紛 / qīng míng shí jié yǔ fēn fēn
路上行人欲斷魂 / lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún
借問酒家何處有 / jiè wèn jiǔ jiā hé chù yǒu
牧童遙指杏花村 / mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn
A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
The mourner’s heart is going to break on his way.
Where can a wineshop be found to drown his sad hours?
A cowherd points to a cot ‘mid apricot flowers.
Qing Ming is a time to get-together and it is a day to remember and honour one’s ancestors. Many who are working away from their home to return to join their families to perform qing ming to show of respect.
These days, Chinese families who visit the graves on Qing Ming no longer dress in dark-coloured clothes. The mood is more upbeat. People are all dressed up and even bring along radio for this outing as families come together for a reunion of sorts.
Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, josssticks. Paper offerings of material goods including hell money, big paper bungalow house with maids would also be burnt for the dead. Firecrackers are also let off to “awaken the spirits to receive the gifts”.
Most family members will visit the graves for this yearly festival as they believe their ancestors in return will give them health, peace, luck and prosperity. Some even hope to be blessed in winning 4 digit lotteries.