What is a Tomb Sweeping Day?

Sending Love and Sympathy

Spring brings renewal of life; spring also brings us closer to those we have left us.

While daffodils are blossoming, morning dews refreshing, on April 4 this year, in China, it is a Tomb Sweeping Day.

What? A national day to sweep the tombs? Indeed, in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and many Chinese speaking regions, it is a Mourning Day. We call it  清明节(qīngmíng jié),  or Clear Bright Festival, and it normally arrives in early April.

 

Remembering ancestors in Singapore. Image via Flickr by themediaslut

 

(To be precise, 清明节(qīngmíng jié) is on the 104th day after the winter solstice.)

People all head for graveyards, cemeteries and temples.

Traditionally,families visit the graveyards to clean the graves of their ancestors.  Rituals are performed.

Qingming Festival — paying respects to the loved one. 

When I was young, I often heard stories about people struggling to find the tombs of their loved ones, because the tombs were often unmarked, weeds had overgrown and even the landscape had changed.

It is a sombre day of reflection. It is a day we learn to retreat from the hustle and bustle of life, and focus on paying respects to our ancestors and our loved ones. It is a day when the young ones learn from their elders and connect with their past.

Qing Ming — remembrance. Image from Flickr by sieuyen

Do you have a similar remembrance day in your cultures and countries?

Do you have a remembrance day as a public holiday as in Taiwan and China?

What do you think of this tomb sweeping, grave cleaning tradition?

Please leave a message and share your thoughts.

Along the River During the Qingming Festival, ...

Along the River During the Qingming Festival, detail of the original version showing wooden bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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