Ch’ing Ming

Ch’ing Ming (also Qing Ming)— Chinese festival of the dead with some similarities to ALL SAINTS’ DAY and ALL SOULS’ DAY.

Ch’ing Ming is the first of two Chinese festivals of the dead held each year (the other is YUE LAAN). Ch’ing Ming (which means “clear and bright”) begins exactly 105 days after the winter solstice, which usually corresponds to April 5 or 6 in the Western calendar. Three days before Ch’ing Ming, all fires are allowed to go out, and no new fires are started for three days in honor of a heroic act from the Chou Dynasty (the day is sometimes called “Cold Food Day,” since there were no fires with which to cook). Early on the day of the Festival, people visit their ancestors’ graves, which are decorated with WILLOW sprigs, paper money and offerings of food. After feasts at the burial grounds, people return home and decorate their houses with willow branches. Ch’ing Ming is also a celebration of spring, and so it is customary to plant trees on this day.

In modern China (where anything remotely superstitious is held in disdain), the day has come to be one mainly for patriotic CELEBRATIONS, although in the more rural areas it’s still celebrated with traditional visits to GRAVEYARDS and planting of trees


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved.