In description of Qingming Festival. Depending on Chinese

           In China, there are mainly 8 major
festivals, including Spring Festival, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival,
Chinese Valentine’s Day, Ghost Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Double Ninth
Festival, and Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb-sweeping festival. The poem
above, which was written by Du Mu, is among the best known of Chinese
description of Qingming Festival. Depending on Chinese Lunar calendar, Qingming
Festival usually falls around on 4th or 5th day of April. Every year on that
day, millions of Chinese people would make a trip to a cemetery, sweeping the
tombs and giving offerings to the dead. Therefore, Qingming festival is not a
day to celebrate but to remember and pay respect to the ancestors, giving
appreciations to the family members who have passed away. What’s more, during
this period, the weather tend to turn warmer and sometimes drizzly, and all of
the plants start germinating. Hence, Qingming festival also reminds people that
the spring is coming. From the poem, Du Mu’s lines evoke the weather typical of
the season and also its distinct ambience, as people clean the tombs of
deceased relatives and hold ceremonies to honor their ancestors.

structure of this paper will discuss the origin of Qingming Festival (when and
where it is originally celebrated), while analyzing how Qingming Festival
illustrates the social, ritual and ethical perspectives of Smarts dimensions.
In the last part, it will also gives a comparison between the Qingming Festival
and Halloween.



            The origin of Qingming Festival
started from Hanshi Day, a memorial day for Jie Zitui. According to legend, Jie
cut a piece from his own lead and get it to his hungry lord, Duke wen, who was
forced to go into exile when the crown was in jeopardy. His lord originally
promised to reward him one day for his action, however, when he came back
nineteen year later, he had forgtten the good deed of Jie Zitui. Duke Wen felt
ashamed and sought out Jie Zitui in order to reward him, but by then Jie hand
gone to live in the forest with his mother. Without any other choices, Due Wen
ordered men to set the forest on fire to force Jie out. However, Jie died with
his mother in the fire. As a result, feeling remorseful, Duke Wen held a
memorial ceremony for him every year to honor his death.

            With a history of over 2500 years,
Qingming is also the name for one of the twenty-four periods of the Chinese
solar calendar. It generally starts on the 5th of April and lasts until about
the 20th to the same month. Through continuous centuries of farming practices,
ancestors of the Chinese people discovered the close ties between agriculture
and climate. Hence, Qingming, in Chinese, means ‘Pure and Brightness’, which corresponds to
prevalent climatic conditions that temperature rises and everything comes back
to life. To be specific, the agricultural activities in this rice producing
part of China followed the landmarks set by the twenty-four solar period
calendar. Therefore, the Qingming period marked the onset of spring and is the
ideal time to plough and sow.           


Three perspectives of Smart’s


              Qingming is associated with tob
sweeping and ritual offerings. The proper grave sweeping ritual is composed of
three main parts: cleaning the grave, which includes weeding and repainting the
gravestone; making offerings to the earth gods and the ancestors; and burning
incense, joss sticks and paper money. Just as the graves are cleaned and
repaired, the seed beds are cleaned and repaired. In the same light, the
offerings on the grave make sense as a statement parallel to sowing. Moreover
meat and wine which were offered to the graves was offered to the seed beds.
Thus the grave offerings was shared between the dead and those who were
presenting them. However, the celebration of Qingming festival can be different
in different regions. The Honolulu Qingming Festival not only includes the most
essential traditional elements of Qingming, but also creatively introduces
several other ideas that unique to their island. Traditionally, only family
members or relatives are invented to attend the event. As stated by Chinese
Qingming Festival in Honolulu (Frederick
Lau, 2004), in 2001, the Qingming Festival in Hawaii”was advertised in
advance in the local newspaper and on television, and the public was invited to
attend.” By performing a variety of musical style, ranging from Japanese
music to Scottish bagpipes, the participants claimed the event was one of the
most spectacular cultural extravaganzas they ever attend.



        While there is much sadness surrounding Tomb Sweeping Day, there is
also happiness, celebration and festivities. Despite giving
thanks to ancestors, Chinese use this traditional holiday to reconnect to their
families as well. People use this opportunity to travel together and go on long
walks in parks and in the outskirts of the city. Children play together and use
willow branches to made things. Therefore, here comes another nicknamgbe for
Qingming Festival — “Taqing”, which means to walk on the green grass. “Qingming
Shanghe Tu”, a famous ancient scroll painting, vividly depicts a bustling scene
full of people spending Qingming Festival in the capital of Song dynasty.
According to Unraveling
the Mystery of the Handscroll ‘Qingming
tu’  (Tsao Hsingyuan, 2003), the
handscroll represents “the celebratory mood of a busy transportation and
commercial season commencing on the first day of Qingming.”



          The main reason for treating the dead
with respect so important in Chinese culture is all about “Xiao”(filial piety).
As early as in the book of Analects, which was a collection of Confucius’s
saying, has already mentioned that “the greatest thing a dutiful son can do
is to honor his parents, and the greatest thing he can do to honor his parents
is to let them enjoy the empire.” (8
Between Family and State: Relational Tensions in Confucian Ethics, Sor-Hoon Tan,
2002) Hence, in short, Xiao is a type of love with
responsibilities. In western culture, people often say “I love you” to their
parents and give them a kiss, while, in China, the way to show love is totally
different. They tend to show love through actions. Chinese people are taught to
remember how much their parents have helped them and the sacrifices they have
made to raise them and guide them. However, the ways that Chinese pay their
parents back are taking care of them when they get old and give them as much as
possible. What’s more, children are responsible for getting the dead a nice place
to have peace forever and then continue to supply them what they may need.


and contrast between Qingming Festival and Halloween

          There is always a saying that
Qingming Festival is the Chinese form of Halloween. Without doubt, these two
festivals have several similarities; the most obvious one is participants of both festivals
believe that ghost are spirits of dead people that live in
some other spaces where we can not see or touch. However, the participants’
attitude toward ghosts are totally different. For Chinese, it is not lucky to
talk about ghosts. Therefore, they take the Qingming as a very important and
serious event, and avoid going outside, especially along rivers, during the
festival. On the other side, for Halloween, Western people dress trendily to
scare the ghosts away rather than please them. For example, in order to protect
themselves from harmful spirits, people wear clothes look like a ghost, and
prepare the offerings of food such as bread and egg for good luck. Nowadays
Halloween even has been transformed to a full-of-fun carnival with plenty of
dressing up, games and parties, which is completely out of imagination in
traditional Chinese ideas.



        To be concluded, the Qingming Festival
was originally a day for memorizing Jie Zitui’s sacrificial spirit, whereas
nowadays people use this opportunity to honor the dead and to reconnect to
their families at the same time. What’s more, in some content, Qingming
Festival is also a proper time for Chinese to show the filial piety to their
ancestors. Comparing with participants of Halloween, people who celebrate
Qingming Festival have the same believe that ghosta are untouable but completely
opposite attitude toward them. Started from Tang dynasty, Qingming Festival offered a chance for people to go on
spring outings and bathe in rivers in hopes of purging misfortune. As winter
turns to spring, people yearn to be closer to nature in the wild. Qingming
consequently became a major spring event for Chinese. On this day, people enjoy
recreational activities such as flying kites, swinging on swings and playing
soccer, along with cleaning the tombs of departed relatives. Across China – and around the world –
millions of Chinese people participate in ancient rituals and ceremonies every year. The
sad tears and joyous laughter
intermingle, giving the Qingming festival an unique and peculiar ambience.