Qingming Holiday

Apr 5 Qingming Festival

Qingming Holiday is an interesting by fact that it is celebrated on the solar calendar. Qing Ming is a traditional Chinese holiday. People have to take care of the decoration in their homes during Qingming Holiday. What’s more, people can also do some cleaning and go out for an excursion with their families or friends on this holiday. Let me remind you that the dates of most traditional Chinese festivals are determined by the lunar calendar. The Qingming Festival, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, is a traditional Chinese festival that celebrates the lives of ancestors.

Qingming Holiday in China

Qingming is one of 24 days a year, which is called the “solar state” in China. This day falls on the 15th day after the vernal equinox and falls on April 4 or 5. It is called “pure brightness” – in Chinese “qing min”, hence the name of the holiday.


Official name Qingming Jie (清明节)
Ching Ming Festival (清明節)
Tomb Sweeping Day (掃墳節)
Observed by Han Chinese, Hakka people, Chitty[1], and Ryukyuans
Significance Remembering ancestors
Observances  Ancestral worship, food offerings to deceased, and burning of joss paper
Date 15th day from the Spring Equinox
4, 5, or 6 April

The origin of Qingming Holiday

It is very ancient and is associated with agriculture. It was believed that this is the last day of the year when it is still possible to begin plowing and sowing. From this day on, the temperature rises and precipitation increases.

The second name of the Qingming holiday is “The Sweeping of Graves Festival”. On this day, it is supposed to offer sacrifices to the ancestors, but this tradition is connected with other reasons already – with a legend and one imperial decree.

Legend of the Qingming Holiday

This legend has several versions, and some of them sound very strange. I will tell the most common version of this story.

In the era of “spring and autumn” (722 – 481 BC), the prince of the kingdom of Jin named Weng was expelled and wandered for 19 years. A faithful servant, Ji Zitui, accompanied him on his travels. He was so devoted that once he cut a piece of meat from his thigh to feed the prince.

Ven became king and decided to thank Ji Zita, he ordered to find his former servant. It became known that Ji Zitui lives in solitude with his mother in the forest (according to another version, on a mountain covered with forest). Ven and his people searched for Ji Zitu in the forest, but they did not find him. And then he ordered to set fire to the forest in order to force Ji Zitu to quit.

Qingming Holiday in China

I cannot refrain from commenting. I hope that no one will ever thank me so much, and I wish the reader the same.

But Ji Zitui and his mother were burned alive. Ven was saddened and repentant, and in order to commemorate Ji, he instituted a feast – Hanshi (“cold meal day”). On this day, no one could make a fire, cook, or eat hot food.

The following year, Ven returned to the scene of the death of Ji Zitu and saw that the willows were growing in this place again. In honor of this event, Wen instituted another celebration the next day, the Qingming holiday Festival. Subsequently, these two holidays combined.

These holidays were secondary until the 8th century. In 732, the emperor Xuanzong from the Tang dynasty made Qingming one of the country’s most important holidays. At that time, rich citizens constantly arranged magnificent ceremonies and offerings to their ancestors. It did not like the common people and created tension in the empire. Xuan Zong banned all ceremonies of sacrifices and honoring of ancestors all the days of the year, except for Qingming Day.

Since then, the celebration of Qingming began to be called “The Day of the Sweeping of the Graves” and became one of the most important for the Chinese.

Read About Arbor Day and how people celebrate this event 

Is Qingming Festival a national holiday?

Yes, Qingming Festival is a national holiday in China. It is also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day or Pure Brightness Day.

Qingming Holiday Date

The date is calculated by the solar calendar. I will now say an amazing thing for many readers: the solar and Gregorian calendars do not match. It turns out that the Chinese determine the dates of holidays at once on three calendars: lunar, solar, and Gregorian. Add nothing – amazing China.

The date falls on April 4 or 5. On the day of Qingming, there is an official holiday. If this day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the day off is postponed to Monday or Friday. Although sometimes they make exceptions, the exact holiday calendar is lower.

  • In 2016 – April 4, the official weekend – is from April 2 to 4.
  • In 2017 – April 4, the official weekend – is from 2 to 4 April.
  • In – April 5, the official weekend – from 5 to 6 April.
  • In – April 5, the official weekend – from 5 to 7 April.
  • In – April 4, the official weekend – from 4 to 6 April.
  • In – April 4, the official weekend – from 4 to April 4.
  • In 2022 – April 5, the official weekend – is from 5 to April 7.

In Taiwan, it is a double celebration. April 5th marks the day of the death of Chiang Kai-shek in 1975.

What do people eat during Qingming Festival?

Traditionally, people eat “Qingtuan” or “green dumplings” during the Qingming Festival. Qingtuan is made of glutinous rice flour and is filled with sweet bean paste. It is said that eating Qingtuan during Qingming Festival can bring good luck and avoid misfortune. Other traditional foods for the festival include “Farner” (boiled wheat gluten), “Zongzi” (glutinous rice dumplings), and “MingJian being” (a type of pancake).

Nowadays, traditional foods are still enjoyed by many people during the Qingming Festival. However, with the change in lifestyle and the influence of Western culture, some people prefer to eat Western food such as hamburgers, pizza, and hot dogs on this day.

Festive Dish – Tsintuan dumplings

The Chinese eat this dish with pleasure. Russians and other Europeans, it horrifies. These are green dumplings. They are made from rice flour mixed with wormwood or sprouts of barley.

Stuffing dumplings Tsintuan is a sweet paste made from Azuki or mashed beans. It tastes quite unusual – you can eat it, but I didn’t taste much pleasure.

The Qingming Holiday is not “fixated” on a festive dish, like other traditional Chinese festivals. The main thing in Qingming is the veneration of ancestors.