April 5, 2011

Qingming Festival—China, Taiwan, Hong Kong

Today's holiday is sometimes called Ching Ming, Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors' Day, or Tomb-Sweeping Day

It is a festival that has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years—although Communist China repealed the holiday from 1949 to 2008. Families honor their ancestors at grave sites, praying, sweeping the tombs, and making offerings of food, drinks, chopsticks, or other items. Some families also enact rituals or burn “spirit money” and drawings of cars, homes, phones, and servants; these paper versions of things people believe will be needed in the afterlife are delivered to the dead ancestors by being burned.

Check out this video (called "Ching Ming Grave Sweepers) about Ancestors' Day. The graveyard in the video looks downright crowded, and we can see soooo many offerings on the graves. 

Nowadays, some families fly kites on this festival day.

How do you and your family honor ancestors? You, too, could go to a graveyard to tend the graves of departed family members, and you could look at old photos and remember anecdotes about grandparents or great-grandparents or...

Some families don't know much about their history—so consider doing some research on genealogy to find out more.

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