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Celebrating Tomb Sweeping Day

Alex Christie

3 April 2008

Tomb sweeping day is one of the traditional Chinese holidays, two weeks after the vernal equinox, normally falling on 4th, 5th, or 6th April.   The Chinese name “Qing Ming” literally means “Clear Brightness”, hinting at its importance as a celebration of spring.

In the ancient times, people celebrated “Qing Ming” with dancing, singing, picnics and kite flying.  Colored boiled eggs would be broken to symbolise the opening of life, which is similar to the Easter eggs in western countries.  With the passing of the time, this celebration of life turns into a day to honour past ancestors. 

Today, Chinese visit their family graves on the Tomb Sweeping Day, as they believe that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family.  2008 is the first year that Tomb Sweep Day is a public holiday in China, which presents a great opportunity for the whole family to get away from work, gather together, and honour their ancestors.   The following image is an ancestral worship ceremony on Tomb-Sweeping Day.




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