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Qingming Festival

Category: Chinese Culture

Qingming Festival is also named Tomb-sweeping Day or Cold Food Day, falling on April 4 this year. Qingming is known as one of the 24 solar terms in China. It’s an ancient festival from the Zhou Dynasty 2500 years ago lasting to today. Folks sweep their ancestors’ tombs, eat cold food, fly kites and “tread on the greenery” on every Qingming Festival since long time ago.


On Qingming Festival, Chinese people dust the tombs of their departed relatives, expressing filial piety and cherishing the memory of them. We set joss sticks, chicken and cups of libation in front of the tombstones. Lighting firecrackers and burning joss paper are also the customs. We pray for blessings from the ancestors, appreciate the lives we own and maintain the spirit of filial piety generation by generation.

Eating Cold Food

According to the folktale, in the Spring and Autumn Period, a man called Jie Zitui once saved Prince Chong'er's life. When Chong’er took the throne, he wanted to reward Jie Zitui with a position in imperial court. But, Jie wasn’t interested in it and hided himself into the mountains. So, the emperor burned the mountain in order to force him out and accidently killed him in the fire. From then on, the emperor decreed no fire at that date when people could only eat raw and cold food. That’s why Qingming Festival is also called the Cold Food Day.

Flying kites & “treading on the greenery”

These two activities are for people to warm up after eating the cold food. Because Qingming represents that the warm weather’s coming, it’s very appropriate for outings.

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