Saturday, April 5, 2008

Qing Ming Jie

...Tomb Sweeping Day or Clear Brightness

Qing1ming2jie2 (清明节) meaning Clear and Bright Festival, is a traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day from the Spring Equinox (one of the few traditional Chinese holidays that follows the solar calendar), usually occurring April 5. Every leap year, Qing Ming is on April 4. Prior to 2008, the holiday was not official in the People's Republic of China since the Communist Party of China classified it as superstition. It is officially celebrated as a public holiday for the first time this year.

For the Chinese, it is a day to remember and honor their ancestors at grave sites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, chopsticks, (joss) paper accessories. Chinese believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors looked after the family. Sacrifices of food and spirit money could keep them happy, and the family would prosper through good harvests and more children.

Burning spirit money to keep the spirits happy