Learning more about Qingming
A woman visits and sweeps tomb in the Pujue Tempe graveyard in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on March 24.
Tomb sweeping holds special significance to honor ancestors.
The Qingming Festival, also called Tomb Sweeping Day, occurs on April 4 this year, which is one of the most important traditional festivals for the 24 Chinese solar terms. Tomb sweeping, also called Shang Fen (to visit a grave in memory of the dead) in Chinese, is popular for offering sacrifices and showing respect to ancestors. Many Chinese go outdoors to enjoy the spring weather. Temperatures warm up, which is a good time for farming.
The Qingming Festival was granted National Intangible Cultural Heritage status by the State Council in 2006. The central government declared the festival, which usually falls on April 5, a public holiday.
According to Ministry of Civil Affairs estimates, about 120 million people mourn the deceased at graveyards or memorial parks each year on the holiday.
Numerous customs include visiting graves, enjoying the outdoors, swinging and hanging from willow branches. Since people should eat cold food on this day to avoid using fire, many take part in sports games to keep warm. The festival combines feelings of sadness and happiness in the same day.