Qingming, literally pure and brightness, is the fifth one of 24 solar terms in Chinese lunar calendar. The day represents a welcome transition from winter to spring. With the coming of spring, nature wakes up, dressing the world in green. All is new, clean and fresh. It always comes at April 4 or April 5 each year.
Moreover, it is a festival of remembrance. Chinese people sweep the tombs of their ancestors in a yearly mark of respect. This is why Qingming is also known as the Tomb-Sweeping Day. After slightly sweeping the tombs, people offer food, flowers and favorites of the dead, then burn incense and paper money and bow before the memorial tablet.
Qingming was frequently mentioned in ancient Chinese works, the most famous one is the poem by Du Mu.
A drizzling rain falls like tears on the Mourning Day;
the mourner’s heart is breaking on his way.
Where can a wine house are found to drown his sadness?
A cowherd points to Xing Hua (Almond Flower) Village in the distance.
The Qingming Festival sees a combination of sadness and happiness. In contrast to the sadness of the tomb sweepers, people also enjoy hope of Spring on this day. It is a good time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime.
Qingming is also significant in Chinese Tea Culture since it is the specific day which divides the fresh green tea by their picking dates. A kind of green tea picked and dried before the Qingming Festival is called “Mingqian tea”. Mingqian tea is known for its tender buds and rich fragrant bouquet, and it’s valued for its quality.
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