Everything You Need to Know about Tomb Sweeping Day

Posted by Lilian Li on April 1, 2017

tomb sweeping day

Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day, is a traditional Chinese festival on the 108th days after the winter solstice. This year, 2017, the festival falls on the April 4th, and people work in China will get a three days holiday start from April 2rd.

Now, let’s study some Chinese words to prepare for this holiday!

qīng míng jié 清明节 Qingming Festival
sǎo mù 扫墓 Sweep a grave
jiā xiāng 家乡 Hometown
huí xiāng 回乡 Back to hometown
dōng zhì 冬至 The winter solstice

e.g.: dōng zhì guò hòu de dì 108 tiān shì qīng míng jié 冬至过后的第108天是清明节。
The 108th day after the winter solstice is Tomb-Sweeping Day.

qīng míng jié shì dà jiā huí xiāng sǎo mù de rì rì zi 清明节是大家回乡扫墓的日子。
Qingming Festival is the day that people back to their hometown and sweep the grave.

About Toom Sweeping 关于扫墓

To pay respect to our dead ancestor, people usually go sweep their tombs around Qingming festival. They clean the weeds, grasses and dust around the tomb, and put the offerings on dishes in front of the tomb. Later, they burn incense and joss paper and pray. But please note that, there are some taboos when you are going to sweep a tomb. Here I selected some of them for you.

1. In general, you must finish tomb sweeping before 4pm. Because people believe that after 4pm, Yang is gradually faded while Yin has increased so you are easier to get an apparition on you. (Yang & Yin: In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (also yin-yang or yin yang, 陰陽 yīnyáng "dark—bright") describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.)—Wikipedia)
2. A pregnant woman or a woman in her menstrual period is not suggest to go tomb sweeping;
3. You’d better don’t eat before you go tomb sweeping to show your respect to your ancestors;
4. Giggling, playing and laughing is forbidden;
5. No photos.

Also, there is a famous painting called 清明上河图 qīng míng shàng hé tú. Some people hold the view that it was painted on Qingming Festival while others not. Until now, this argument hasn’t been solved yet.

qīng míng 清明
qīng míng shí jié yǔ fēn fēn ,lù shàng xíng rén yù duàn hún 。
清明时节雨纷纷,路上行人欲断魂。
jiè wèn jiǔ jiā hé chù yǒu ?mù tóng yáo zhǐ xìng huā cūn
借问酒家何处有?牧童遥指杏花村。

If you want to learn more about Chinese festival or Chinese culture, you can learn here: Chinese Culture Course.

About The Author

Lilian Li

Lilian Li has a master's degree in linguistics and didactics from Rennes University in France. An expert in linguistics and educational psychology, she has taught Chinese as a foreign language for several years, primarily in France.

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