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Ching Ming Festival

National and public holidays in China National Holiday in China and several other East Asian countries

Ching Ming, Qingming, the Remembrance of Ancestors Day or Grave-Sweeping Day is a public holiday in several countries in Asia.
Detail from Qing Ming Shang He Tu (Qing Court Version)

When is Ching Ming Festival?

How long until Ching Ming Festival?
This holiday next takes place in 312 Days.
Dates of Ching Ming Festival
Year Weekday Date
2018 Thursday April 5th
2017 Tuesday April 4th
2015 Sunday April 5th
2014 Saturday April 5th
2013 Saturday April 6th
Duration
1 Day
Where is Ching Ming Festival a holiday?
Country Date
China China April 4th
Hong Kong Hong Kong April 4th
Macau Macau April 4th
Taiwan Taiwan April 3rd
Summary
Ching Ming is the Remembrance of Ancestors Day or Grave-Sweeping Day

Ching Ming, Qingming, the Remembrance of Ancestors Day or Grave-Sweeping Day.

This date is indicated on the Chinese calendar by the two characters: ching, meaning pure or clean, and ming, meaning brightness. Combined together, Ching Ming means clean and just.

This date is also indicated on traditional Japanese calendars, where their culture has a similar observance. In Korean culture, the observance is known as Hansik.

Ancestor worship is the only native religion to China. All others, including, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, were imported from outside of China. (Confucianism and Taoism originated in China but are philosophies rather than religions.)

Ching Ming rituals not only include weeding of the area around the grave, cleaning of the headstone, and replacing the wilted flowers with fresh ones, but also the lighting of incense and burning of imitation paper money. The burning of the imitation money is for the deceased to use in the afterlife.

In some parts of China, the sweeping of the tomb takes places from a week before Ching Ming and the sweeping is done on the day before (known as 'Cold Food Day'). Nobody actually does the actual task of tomb sweeping on Tomb Sweeping Day.

The paper imitations burnt are no longer limited to just money. In recent years, the burning of paper imitations of a wide variety of consumer goods has become popular. This includes all manner of objects, such as iphones, designer handbags, houses and sports cars.

In addition, food is laid out in front of the headstone as an offering to the spirits of the deceased.

Each family member comes in front of the headstone and bows three times with their right fist held cupped in their left hand. Some families will then eat the food at the grave site, akin to having a picnic with their deceased relatives. It is said to bring good luck to eat the food that was offered to the deceased . Some families may also set off firecrackers to scare off evil spirits and to alert the deceased relatives that they are there to pay their respects.

Today, the responsibility to hang san or ’walk the mountain’ as visiting the cemetery is commonly known, still falls to the eldest son. Today families may be more likely to prefer simplified offerings of only the incense, paper money and flowers.

Taiwan

In Taiwan, this holiday is known as Tomb Sweeping Day. The day is a statutory public holiday with most businesses and schools closing for the day.

Recently it has been announced that in Taiwan, the holiday has moved to fall on 5 April so that it also commemorates the death of a prominent Chinese leader in the late 1920s. However in 2017, it was observed on Monday 3 April to create a long weekend.


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