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Cheng Ming Festival

Light a lantern and honor tradition on Cheng Ming Festival – a day to remember, respect and pay tribute to our ancestors.
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Category
Cultural
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When it is?
April 4
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Country
China
Introduction

Ready the lanterns and connect with history on April 4th for the Cheng Ming Festival. Also known as the Tomb Sweeping Day, this traditional Chinese festival dates back over 2,500 years and is all about honoring and respecting ancestors. This is the day to remember those who came before us by visiting their graves, cleaning tombstones, making offerings, and lighting lanterns to guide their spirits. The Cheng Ming Festival is one of positivity, reflection, and deeply-rooted respect; it's a glorious blend of solemnity and celebration that brings together generations, a day to celebrate life as much as we remember those who've passed. On this day, tradition becomes a beacon, illuminating the path back to our roots, and the love we share for our family, both present and departed, radiates brightly. Embrace tradition this April 4, and join us in the beautiful homage of Cheng Ming Festival.

History of Cheng Ming Festival

Cheng Ming Festival Dates

Cheng Ming Festival Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>700 BC</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Festival Origins</div><div class='timeline-text'>Historians trace the origins of the Cheng Ming Festival back to the Zhou Dynasty, starting around 700 BC.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>600s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Empress Wu Zetian Declaration</div><div class='timeline-text'>Empress Wu Zetian of Tang Dynasty declares Cheng Ming Festival a national holiday in the 600s.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1949</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Postponement in Mainland China</div><div class='timeline-text'>After the rise of Communism in Mainland China, the Cheng Ming Festival was less observed and was not officially recognized.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1980s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Cheng Ming Revival</div><div class='timeline-text'>From the 1980s, as traditional cultures and practices regained acknowledgment in China, the Cheng Ming Festival saw renewed observance.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2008</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Declared Public Holiday</div><div class='timeline-text'>In 2008, the Chinese government declared Cheng Ming Festival a public holiday to enrich people's cultural life and satisfy their needs in honoring their ancestors.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Cheng Ming Festival

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Create handmade paper offerings</h3><p class='facts-text'>Dedicate some time to create your own paper offerings for your ancestors. These can be shaped into items your ancestors enjoyed in their lifetime, like a favorite pair of shoes or a beloved book. It's a traditional way to remember them and a touching tribute.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Visit ancestral graves</h3><p class='facts-text'>Honor the tradition by visiting the grave sites of your ancestors. Clean the tombstones, place fresh flowers, and share stories about them. This helps to keep their memory alive and allows younger generations to feel a connection with their roots.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Prepare traditional meals</h3><p class='facts-text'>Celebrate the Cheng Ming Festival by preparing and sharing meals that your loved ones enjoyed. This not only pays homage to them but it also gives you the opportunity to pass down family recipes to the younger members of the family.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Plant a tree</h3><p class='facts-text'>In connection with the tradition of sweeping tombs, consider planting a tree in memory of your ancestors. This symbolizes growth, life, and the continuity of the family lineage.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-header'><h3 class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 class='facts-title'>Organize a family gathering</h3><p class='facts-text'>Arrange a gathering so the entire family can come together on this special day. Create activities that revolve around recalling fond memories of the departed, sharing family history and bonding with each other. It's a great way to strengthen family ties while honoring those who have come before you.</p></div></div>

Why Cheng Ming Festival is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It keeps tradition alive</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>The Cheng Ming Festival dates back over 2,500 years and offers the opportunity to maintain and appreciate long-standing traditions. From creating handmade paper offerings to visiting ancestor's graves, it provides a special way for each generation to experience and preserve these beautiful ceremonial customs.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It strengthens family bonds</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>The Cheng Ming Festival is a time for families to gather and feel a strong connection with each other and their ancestry. Sharing meals, stories, and participating in activities that remember and pay homage to ancestors helps build stronger relationships within the family, bringing everyone closer.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a celebration of life</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>While the Cheng Ming Festival honours ancestors, it’s also a celebration of life itself. It reminds us about the cycle of life, continuity of family lineage, and the foundations our ancestors laid for us. It's a day to respect the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future.</p></div></div>

5 Enlightening Facts about Cheng Ming Festival

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Ritual of “Cold Food” is a Cheng Ming Tradition</h3><p class='facts-content'>Before it became known as Cheng Ming Festival, the celebration was known as the Cold Food Festival where only cold food was served. This was in remembrance of a loyal subject who followed his exiled prince, surviving on wild plants until a fire revealed their hiding place. Henceforth, fire was outlawed for one day each year.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Each Step in Grave Sweeping carries Symbolic Importance</h3><p class='facts-content'>From sweeping the graves to presenting offerings, each step is symbolic. It's said that the more thorough the tomb sweeping, the more prosperous the descendants will be, illustrating that respect for ancestors affects the living's fortune.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The Festival indicates Start of Spring Ploughing</h3><p class='facts-content'>Traditionally, Cheng Ming Festival not only represents paying respects to ancestors but also indicates a time to start spring ploughing and a new round of farming, signifying a harmonious cycle of life and death.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Worshipping Deities is a Part of the Festival</h3><p class='facts-content'>Alongside honouring ancestors, this festival also includes worshipping various deities. Many Chinese people visit Taoist or Buddhist temples to burn incense and make offerings to their chosen gods.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Kite Flying is a Cherished Tradition</h3><p class='facts-content'>Flying kites is not only a leisure activity during the Cheng Ming Festival, but it is also a way to pay respects to the deceased. Some believe that cutting the string while the kite is in the air can send off disaster and bad luck.</p></div></div>

Cheng Ming Festival FAQs

Cheng Ming Festival Dates

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2023

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2027

Cultural Holidays