China’s Cultural Traditions: The Qingming Festival

China’s Cultural Traditions: The Qingming Festival

In the month of April, while the Western world anticipates the yellow festival of Easter, in China, another spring tradition is celebrated – the Qingming Festival.

The Qingming Festival is one of the traditional holidays celebrated in China. The festival, typically falls on either the 4th or 5th of April every year, depending on the lunar calendar.

Due to Covid-related restrictions and lockdowns, the Qingming Festival was not celebrated in the usual manner in 2022. Read our last years Insight of the Qingming festival here.

However, this year, more people are expected to venture outside to welcome the arrival of spring and pay respects to their ancestors.

Flying kite

What is the Qingming Festival?

Qingming Festival has a long history in China, dating back over 2,500 years, and it continues to be an important cultural tradition in modern-day China and other parts of the world with Chinese populations.

The tradition behind the festival is to pay their respects to their ancestors by visiting and cleaning their tombs, and offering them food, incense, and other gifts.

Visiting cemeteries during the Qingming Festival is a common practice.

How is it celebrated?

During the Qingming Festival, it is customary to offer respectful greetings to one’s ancestors and to express gratitude for their contributions to the family and society. People also typically offer incense, flowers, and food at their ancestors’ gravesites, and may engage in quiet reflection or prayer.

Today it is also a time for people to enjoy the spring weather by having picnics, flying kites, and participating in other outdoor activities.

Qingming Festival is also associated with the custom of eating Qingming cakes, a type of glutinous rice cake, and the drinking of Qingming tea, which is made by steeping fresh green tea leaves in boiled water.

Qingming cakes

Additionally, people may greet each other with “Qingming jie kuaile” (清明节快乐), which means “Happy Qingming Festival.”