Qing Ming Jie (also called Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day), a traditional Chinese festival that remembers past ancestors, is upon us! On the 4th of April, everything will revolve around cleaning and sweeping the graves of passed loved ones and remembering ancestors, but it’s also a time for celebrating new life. Lao Guo has written an interesting article about this public holiday and how to stay healthy during this time of the year!
Qing Ming Jie
Qing Ming Jie (Tomb-sweeping Day) is an important traditional festival in China that usually takes place on April 4th or 5th of the solar calendar. During Qing Ming Jie, you can see some traditional customs like tomb sweeping, ancestor worship and picnics in nature in the vast areas of China.
Qing Ming Jie is a festival with more than 2500 years of history, and according to an old Chinese saying “植树造林，莫过清明”, Qing Ming Jie “is the best time to plant trees”. Besides the traditional tomb sweeping, other customs include physical activities like Cu Ju (an ancient Chinese Football Game), playing polo and spring outing swinging. People participate in these sports in order to follow the spring season and to keep healthy. Therefore, this festival is both for tears of sadness and laughter of happiness.
Ta Qing (踏青), “walk on the green grass”. During springtime in April, all plants turn green and it is a good time to enjoy the energy of life. And like the belief “life is a circle”, people prefer to celebrate new life while visiting deceased loved ones.
Cu Ju (蹴鞠), an ancient Chinese football game, was the most popular game in ancient China. It was invented by Huang Di, the ancestor of Chinese people, and the purpose of this game was to train soldiers.
Dang Qiuqian (荡秋千), “to swing”. This is also an old tradition which is believed by Chinese people to strenghten kids’ courage.
Fang Fengzheng (放风筝), “to fly a kite”. During Qing Ming Jie, the Chi will back up from the earth and it is a good time to fly a kite. In ancient China, people flied a kite both during daytime and night and some of them put some small lanterns on the kite and called them Holy Lights. When the kite goes too high, older people cut the line and let it go, which means the kite will take bad luck away!
Zhi Shu (植树), “plant trees”. Older Chinese people believe everything has a sprit and plant trees on Qing Ming Jie to start a new life circle for the people who passed away. In this case, Qing Ming Jie is also considered as our traditional Tree Planting Day.
Healthy Tips for Qīng Míng Jié
Take care of the changes of the weather and adjust your clothes according to changing temperatures. Don’t show up in the public place as possible.
According to Chinese Medicine, don’t eat “fat” food, like chicken and bamboo shoots. Instead, it’s better to eat vegetables that are good for your liver and lungs, like 荠菜 (“Pickpurse”) and 菠菜 (“Spinach”).
Because Qing Ming Jie is the time when cold and warm air meeting each other, the weather changes very quickly, which causes people to easily feel humidity or paralysis of the limbs. Drinking soup with some specific herbs such as tremella, adlay, astragalus, Chinese yam, mulberry chrysanthemum or almonds will ease the symptoms.
During Qing Ming Festival, eating the seeds of plants such as oats, buckwheat, rice, lentils, coix seed, peanuts, soybeans, coffee beans, sunflower seeds is considered helpful for your health, because those plant seeds are very nutritious. Eating Qing Ming healthy porridge grains (buckwheat, oat, barley) can balance the Yin and Yang inside and enhance immunity.