Today was Qing Ming festival in China (it was celebrated as a public holiday in Hong Kong on Saturday 4th – we never seem to notice the Saturday public holidays!). Qing Ming literally means Clear Brightness, and is the day when one honors one’s ancestors by sweeping and tidying their tombs. At the tomb-side, people will ask their ancestors, “did you eat already?”, “are you hungry?”, and leave offerings of food along with chopsticks and wine. They will also burn ceremonial paper money and joss sticks.
The timing of Qing Ming is determined astronomically, and is traditionally seen as the onset of Spring; a time to get out of the house and enjoy the new-sprouting greenery.
Du Mu, the famous Chinese poet wrote a poem about Qing Ming:
In the endless rain of the Qing Ming season,
A traveller seeks to lift his spirits.
Where can I find a tavern he asks a shepherd,
who points to apricot blossomed village in the distance.
We’re crossing our fingers to not have as much “endless rain” as last year!
Image from Ma Shuang-I on Flickr.