Qing Ming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day)

qingming
(Source: Getty Images)

The Qing Ming Festival is also known as Tomb Sweeping Day. It is followed in Chinese cultural areas including Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore as well as Vietnam. The holiday falls on or around April 5th.

QingMing is a time when families revisit the graves or urns (kept in Buddhist/Taoist temples) of their ancestors. As many outside grave sites may be overgrown with weeds and wild grasses, family members will sweep the mess and make the site neat and clean.

Often the wild grasses and shrubs will be burned away. Subsequently, family members will light incense and joss sticks, burn ghost money, pray, and leave offerings of food, flowers, tea, or rice wine.

In addition, many families will clean away and pray at their ancestors tombs up to several weeks before the actual day. This helps many avoid crowds and traffic on what can be a very busy day.

In Taiwan, Tomb Sweeping Day is a holiday from work and school. Some years, the holiday is tied to a 3 or 4 day weekend.

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