Qingmingjie 2024

Qingming Jie, or the Tomb Sweeping Day, is one of the most important holidays in China. During this holiday, the Chinese worship their ancestors and clean the gravesite. It also has very interesting traditions and customs. Qingmingjie 2024 falls on April 4th.

Qingmingjie 2024. History of Qingmingjie

The story of Qingmingjie dates back to the Zhou Dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago. The legend tells the story of Master Wen and his faithful servant, Jie Zitui. One day, Jie cut a piece of meat from his thigh, made it into soup, and served it to his master so that he would not go hungry. Grateful Wen promised to reward Jie but forgot about him after he took the throne. Years later, Wen wanted to find Jie to persuade him to return to service. Jie Zitui went to live with his mother in seclusion in the forest. When master Wen found out about his whereabouts, he set the forest on fire to lure Jie out. Unfortunately, Jie and his mother died in the fire. Master Wen, saddened by his death, ordered that the lighting of fires, and consequently the heating of food, be forbidden on this day every year. Thus, was born the tradition of the Cold Food Festival (寒食节, Hánshí jié), which in later years gave rise to Qingmingjie.

Qingmingjie traditions

Sweeping graves and praying

The day before the holiday, the Chinese gather at cemeteries to clean and decorate the graves to prepare the site for a visit with the whole family the following day. During such a visit, candles and incense are lit, food is offered, and then three bows are made to show respect to the deceased.

Burning imitation money over the grave is also an interesting tradition. Many Chinese believe that the soul of the deceased does not finish its journey after death, so anything it might need, such as food or money, should be brought to it.

qingmingjie 2024
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Willow branches

In ancient times, the Chinese would hang willow branches on the doors of their houses, on buildings, gates, windows, and even on their own necks to ward off evil spirits that might appear during the Qingmingjie. The willow is also a symbolic tree because, according to legend, Jie wrapped his arms around the willow during a fire, and that is where his master found him. When Master Wan returned to the burial place of his servant after a year, he saw a beautiful willow tree growing over his grave. Wan approached the tree, plucked a branch from it, and wrapped it around his head as a tribute to his subject.

Activities during Qingmingjie

Many Chinese people believe that in order to avoid illness and to warm up after eating a cold meal, one should participate in physical activities. It is a tradition to swing on swings, play various sports such as football, but most importantly, to fly kites. Flying kites is not only a kind of physical activity, but many people also believe that it will bring them good luck and chase away diseases. It should also be mentioned that Qingmingjie signifies the arrival of warm and bright days, which is why, during the holiday, many families go for walks together to enjoy the good weather and the rebirth of nature.

Cold food

According to tradition, during Qing Ming Jie, it is forbidden to light fires and thus heat or cook food, so food is prepared a few days before the festival. Rice balls, which turn green thanks to the natural dye in vegetables, are popular. Sanzi, which is a wrapped, fried cake, rice porridge, or omelets with onions, is also eaten during the festival. Zitui buns (子推馍, Zi tuī mó) are also prepared to commemorate the death of Jie Zitui.

qingmingjie food
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Qingmingjie2024 – what to keep in mind?

Qingmingjie in 2024 will begin on April 4 and continue until April 6. Please note that these are public holidays, so all businesses and offices are closed. During these three days, it may be difficult to contact Chinese manufacturers and employees, as for most Chinese, it is a family holiday.