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Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming Jie)

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Ancestor worship in town

The Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival, which can be traced as far back as more than 2,500 years. On this day, people visit the graves of their ancestors to honor and worship them, to pray before them, to sweep their tombs, and to offer them food, drinks, and other gifts that could be useful in their afterlife. Some people even draw pictures of TVs, cars, houses, in hopes that the deceased would have a more comfortable “life” wherever they are. Money, real or paper, also often is burned at the tomb, as a sacrifice in honor of the ancestors. It is believed that worshiping their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day will ensure good luck throughout the year, while not honoring those who have already passed away, can have very unfortunate results. After its re-institution in 2008, the Qingming Festival has become a widespread custom again, and many people of the older generations expect the younger people to follow their example in observing this holiday.

Other names for Tomb Sweeping Day are:

– Pure Brightness Festival
– Clear Bright Festival
– Ancestors Day

For more detailed information about the origins and its current place in the Chinese culture, you can read wikipedia’s article on “Qingming Festival.”

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