The name of Qing Ming refers to one of twenty-four periods jie qi of the Chinese agricultural calendar, which covers roughly the first two weeks of April. His name, french purity (air) and light indicates climate characteristics of the period. It was once a time when farmers prepared and checked the equipment necessary for agricultural activities and sericoles ahead.
Origins of the feast
Qingming Festival, the Qing Ming Festival, is a day designated China as a national day cleaning the tombs since 1935. Day holiday in Taiwan, including its date is set for April 4. Nowadays, Qingming Festival is thus reduced to a day devoted to the upkeep of graves, just like Toussaint in France, but it was led to a longer period gathering rituals and activities origins different.
At the root of the modern festival are two very ancient cultural activities:
Shangsi was a feast attested in the country of Zheng (current Henan) from the beginning of the Christian era. Initially rituals to oust the bad influences and to appease wandering souls and demons were taking place at the water's edge, but at the time Song was now merely a day of outdoor activities . It is essentially this aspect of output in the country (where the tombs are located), which subsists in the current festival of Qing Ming, with the use of willow branches for their virtues apotropaic.
Hanshi, eat cold, is a custom attested from the time of the Western Han in the district of Taiyuan in Shanxi. She took up the cause in winter, and are observed in honour of Jiezitui character of antiquity Minister of Duke Wen Jin, a ban on lighting any fire during a period which may go five days to one month. Observed so severe, this custom seemed to be detrimental to the health of younger and older, according to the testimony of a work by the time the book of Han Hou.
Cao Cao, founder of one of the three kingdoms, would have moved this ritual in the period of Qing Ming. Hanshi has sent the current festive custom not to turn on fire for at least one day (very little observed today) and prepare special dishes can be eaten cold.
The type most often mentioned in ancient texts was a kind of porridge, but today we tend to think runbing, a kind of rolled pancakes that are the origin of chunjuan spring rolls (not fried in their the first version). The spring roll is the cause an ingenious method used by those who could not file a complete offering food on the graves, because of poverty or lack of supply (wars ...). They were content to file a little food on pancakes cold, which could then be rolled and eaten.
Other interesting custom, lost in the early twentieth century: in the south-west China, on decorating or engraving of eggshells at Qing Ming.
The custom of visiting the family graves, saomu, which became the core activity of the day of Qing Ming, seems to have set in the Tang.
Several factors have converged for its existence:
It would perpetuate the ancient tradition of worship the wandering souls of Shangsi and the habit of visiting the graves associated with the cult of Jiezitui the period of Hanshi. Moreover, the allocation of many days of leave from the Tang would have given everyone, including those living far from their region of origin, a unique opportunity to visit ancestral graves.
Nevertheless, some Chinese have chosen other periods to visit their graves, because of local customs or family or simply for reasons of convenience. Thus, the many public holidays granted under the Tang did not preserved, you can see Hakkas, whose ethnic Chinese men were often working away, take advantage of the leave period longest Chinese New Year and clean their Tombs at the Lantern Festival.
The popular legend, which sets the direction of the party is that of Jiezitui, a senor official of Jin at the time of the Spring and Autumn, presented as a model of integrity and filial piety. It would have followed in his exile heir to the throne chased by a minister traitor, up to offer him a piece of his flesh as food while he was dying of hunger. But once back in possession of his title, the new sovereign Jin Wengong totally forgot his benefactor. The day he returned memory, driven by remorse he decided to do search and learned that poverty had pushed to go live in the forest with her elderly mother. As it does not found someone had the idea objectionable to set fire to the forest to get him out, the result was that burned bright with his mother. The Duke of Jin ordered when he makes a cult and that we refrain from lighting fire on the anniversary of his death. The following year, returning pilgrim on the scene, the Duke discovered a growth of willow to where Jiezitui was dead. He ficha in his headdress, and the years following each took the habit of hanging on a willow branch to his door in memory of the hero.
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