Ching Ming Festival
The Ching Ming Festival (AKA Qingming Festival) is a Chinese holiday celebrated on April 4th of each year - except for leap years. In Chinese, Ching means pure or clean and Ming means brightness. Most people call this holiday grave-sweeping day because people head to the cemetery to clean graves.
There are many Ching Ming rituals which include pulling out weeds around the headstone, cleaning the stone and replacing wilted or dead flowers with fresh ones. People also burn incense and paper money. The paper money is for the deceased to use in the afterlife. You'll even see food arranged on headstones but it's not a picnic. The food is an offering to the spirits.
Ways to Observe
Other rituals include family members pouring wine on the grave or setting off firecrackers to scare away evil spirits. The firecrackers also let deceased loved ones know they're there to pay their respects. Legend has it that unhappy spirits wander the earth on Ching Ming day. It's considered bad luck to do important business or have an operation on the day of celebration.
Did You Know?
- Ching Ming was declared a national holiday in 732 AD, during the Tang Dynasty, to make the holiday more accessible to everyone.
- Ching Ming is also known as Spring Remembrance.
- Qingming happens every 106 days after the winter solstice - so every leap year it falls on April 4th, so in 2016 it's one day early!
- Three sets of chopsticks and three cups of wine are always placed on the headstone of an ancestor on Ching Ming.
Have Your Say
Do you celebrate Ching Ming? What will you be doing on this day? Let us know by leaving a comment below!