Qingmingjie (Tomb Sweeping Day)

Qingmingjie is the traditional Chinese festival that falls upon either on 4th or 5th of April (in 2018 Qingmingjie was celebrated on 5th April). Since 2008, the festival is considered a public holiday in China. Schools often make the whole week off due to the festival. In one of its concepts, the festival reminds Memorial Ancestors Day celebrated in Poland on 1st November.

During Qingmingjie, the Chinese families visit the tombs of their ancestors, pray and provide various ritual offerings. It is believed that the dead have the same desires as the alive. The wandering souls suffer from hunger, coldness, thirst. Their suffering can be mitigated by the specific rituals.

Chinese families sweep the tombs before Qingmingjie. On the very day, all family members gather at the tomb. The oldest member of the family lights the candles. The family provides also a ritual food dish in a bowl located in front of the tomb. This is usually the most favourite dish of the dead. Families fire fake banknotes formerly poured by wine, imitations of cars and iphones believing the dead need them to the same extent as the alive people. Happy and well-fed souls of the dead become friendly and helpful to people.

Qingmingjie Festival is also a time of other activities such as taking spring outing and flying kites. In spring everything in nature takes on a new look. Families go outside to enjoy themselves and stay healthy. Kites are flown during the day but also in the evening. They are equipped with little lanterns which twinkle in the sky like little stars. People cut the strings that fastens the kites. It is said this brings good luck and eliminates diseases.

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