Qingming Festival in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

The Qingming Festival is on April 4th this year in China, and on the 5th in Taiwan. In Taiwan it’s called Tomb Sweeping Day.

This day is a remembrance of ancestors – it’s similar to All Saints Day and The Day of the Dead. People clean the tombs of their ancestors and offer them food, drink, joss (paper gifts) and spirit money (not real currency). Some people carry willow branches to ward off the evil spirits that are thought to roam the earth on this day.

Photo of Qingming

Qingming is also a celebration of the spring. People have picnics, play on swings and fly kites.

There is a well-known poem by the poet Du Mu (803 – 852) that mentions this day. Below you can find the Chinese text, the Pinyin and an English translation I tried my hand!

Chingming Picture

MP3 of the Ching Ming Poem

Ching Ming

It’s raining hard at the time of the Ching Ming Festival,
The mourner’s heart is overwhelmed on the road upland.
May I ask where there’s a tavern to drown my sorrows?
The shepherd boy points to Xinghua Village in the distance.

清  明

清    明     时 节   雨   纷 纷,

路    上     行  人    欲    断  魂。

借  问    酒 家  何 处  有,

牧  童    遥    指  杏   花  村。

qīng míng shí jié yǔ fēn fēn
lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún
jiè wèn jiǔ jiā hé chù yǒu
mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn

Below you can read other posts about the Chingming Festival…

Feel free to share your holiday photos or traditions by commenting below or emailing me at lisa@mamalisa.com.

Mama Lisa

The poem was read by Jia Zhou for Librevox.

This article was posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 6:42 pm and is filed under China, Chinese, Ching Ming, Ching Ming Festival, Countries & Cultures, Du Mu, Holidays Around the World, Hong Kong, Languages, Mama Lisa, Poetry, Poets, Qingming, Taiwan, Tomb Sweeping Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Qingming Festival in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan”

  1. Qingming Poem by Du Mu | Mama Lisa's World Blog Says:

    […] I posted the poem Qingming by the poet Du Mu (803 – 852) that mentions the Qingming Festival (also called Ching Ming). I asked my friend Ray Lee about it. He grew up in Hong Kong and I wanted […]

  2. Ray Lee Says:

    Yesterday (4/5/2011) was Ching Ming festival. As the postings in your blog say, it’s a time for people to visit their ancestors’ grave site to pay their respect, and also to clean up around the grave site.

    I heard on NPR yesterday that young people in China are not as motivated to observe this tradition as the older generation. Some think that they don’t need to go to their ancestors’ tomb on Ching Ming – they can go any day of the year. And for some people, it’s difficult to take a day off from work to do that.

    In the increasingly entrepreneurial Chinese society, you can pretty much pay someone to do anything. So there are people who offer to go to your ancestors’ grave site and do all that (offer your ancestors’ food and flowers, and sweep the tomb) for a fee.

  3. Lisa Says:

    That’s interesting… Thanks for sharing that Ray!

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