6 Things You Didn’t Know About Tomb Sweeping Day

关于清明节 你可能不知道的6件事儿
时间:2018-04-03 单词数:4160

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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.

1)清明节的中文名为“Qingming Jie”,意味着“清晰和明亮”。这个名字起源于清明节气——中国阳历的24个节气之一。该节气在春分后,持续15天,期间天气越来越好,越来越暖。

2) During this period, people hang willow branches in memory of an official named Jie Zitui, who rather graphically cut his own flesh to feed a starving prince named Chong’er. After Chong’er became King Jinwen Gong, he remembered that he forgot to reward Jiezi Tui. When he went to Jie Zitui’s house, he found it empty; Jie had gone to Mian Mountain (绵山) to hide with his mother. Jinwen Gong set a fire around the mountain to smoke Jie Zitui out, but the official never appeared. After the fire burned out, Jinwen Gong found Jie and his mother’s corpses near a willow tree. In the tree hole, Jinwen Gong found a letter from Jie urging him to be a good king.


3) 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.


4) 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.


5) 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.


6) 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.