Qing Ming Festival

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Qing Ming Festival (Ching Ming Festival)

Fourth or fifth day of third lunar month
The Qing Ming Festival is a day for Chinese throughout the world to honor their dead. Qing Ming means "clear and bright," and refers to the weather at this time of year. It is a Confucian festival that dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 b.c.e. to 221 c.e.), and it is now a Chinese national holiday. It is computed as 105 days after the Winter Solstice, Tong-ji.
The day is observed in the countryside with visits to ancestral graves to sweep, wash, repair, and paint them. Offerings of food, wine, incense, and flowers are made, firecrackers are set off, and paper money is burned at the graveside, so that the ancestors will have funds to spend in the afterworld. (The Chinese traditional belief is that the afterlife is quite similar to this life, and that the dead live a little below ground in the Yellow Springs region.)
In ancient China, people spent Qing Ming playing Chinese football and flying kites. Today, they picnic and gather for family meals. In the cities, though, it has been changed to a day of patriotism with placement of memorial wreaths only to Chinese revolution heroes in a few state-run public cemeteries.
The day is also called Cold Food Day (in Korea, Han Sik-il ; in Taiwan, Han Shih ) because, according to an ancient legend, it was taboo to cook the day before.
In Taiwan, yellow paper strips about 3 x 2 inches, are stuck in the ground of the grave, as is shingling. This symbolically maintains the home of one's ancestors. Then the prayers and food offerings are done.
See also Thanh-Minh and Ullambana
CONTACTS:
Hong Kong Tourism Board
115 E. 54th St., Fl. 2
New York, NY 10022
212-421-3382; fax: 212-421-8428
www.discoverhongkong.com
Taiwan Government Information Office
4201 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
202-895-1800; fax: 202-362-6144
www.gio.gov.tw
SOURCES:
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 87
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 6
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 225, 228, 478, 789
EncyRel-1987, vol. 3, pp. 293, 325
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 279
HolSymbols-2009, p. 120
OxYear-1999, p. 705
RelHolCal-2004, p. 232
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References in periodicals archive ?
Most of these markets resume trading today, but Hong Kong bourse remains closing for Ching Ming Festival.
A HILLSIDE over Hong Kong glows spectacularly as hundreds of fires burn to celebrate the Chinese Ching Ming festival.