On April 4th this year, many families all over China took a break from daily activities and observe “Qingming Festival,” or “Tomb Sweeping Day”. This festival combines the people's reverence for their ancestors and for nature. It is a reaffirmation of the Chinese ethic of filial piety is a traditional Chinese holiday.
Its Chinese name, “Qing Ming” literally means “Clear Brightness” which gives an indication of the celebration of spring. This holiday holds a profound meaning in modern Chinese society and highlights the deep respect Chinese families maintain for their genealogical roots.
Most families visit the gravesite and perform cleaning and worship rites at the gravesite. Since most cemeteries are located on hillsides in the countryside or outskirts of town, upon completing the Tomb Sweeping Day rites, many families will take advantage of the fine spring weather by going on a family outing and doing such activities as flying kites and having a picnic after paying respects and tidying the gravesite at the cemetery.
These spring outings on Tomb Sweeping Day have become an integral rite of the spring season as families enjoy time together. Two traditions have melded into one and the passing of time, this celebration of spring and the renewal of life has also became a day to the honor past generations.
You may join in the discussion on the “Living in Two Cultures” yahoo group lead by Lea Xu, co-owner of Lotus Travel. She recently commented on her family’s Tomb Sweeping outing. This group holds various discussions about differences and similarities of living in Asia and North America. If interested, you may send an email to: LivingInTwoCultures @yahoogroups.com. to join the discussion.