here are some facts you probably didn’t know about Tomb Sweeping Day.
It’s holiday season yet again in China! While we are enjoying this three-day holiday (April 5-7 with Tomb Sweeping Day falling on April 5), here are some facts you probably didn’t know about Tomb Sweeping Day.
1) The Chinese term for Tomb Sweeping Day is Qingming Jie (清明节), which means “clear and bright.” This name originated from Qingming Jieqi (清明节气), one of the 24 solar terms in the Chinese solar calendar. This solar term comes after the Spring Equinox and lasts 15 days, while the weather is getting nice and warm.
2) The custom of tomb sweeping varies according to different areas in China. In Hebei (or northern China), tomb sweeping starts a week before actual Tomb Sweeping Day. In the south, people sweep tombs the day before Tomb Sweeping Day; the eve is also known as Cold Food Day. No matter where you are, nobody actually sweeps tombs on Tomb Sweeping Day.
3) Qingming is also a time to welcome the spring and enjoy the changing of the seasons. Common outdoor activities include hiking, kite flying, and tree planting.
4) Not all Chinese ethnic minorities celebrate Tomb Sweeping Day, but there are 24 that do (thanks to the Hans’ influence) with sweeping tombs and their own customs. For example, the Tujia ethnic group eat pig heads and the Miao minority makes a type of pastry called Qingming Ba (清明耙) with mugwort and sticky rice.
5) People in the South of China eat qingtuan, a dumpling made out of glutinous rice and barley grass, but people in the North don’t have the same tradition.