7 Qing Ming Festival Etiquettes You Must Observe For Respect
Qing Ming Festival, aka Tomb Sweeping Day, is a traditional Chinese holiday that falls on April 4th or 5th of each year. Qing Ming Festival has been celebrated for over 2500 years and is an integral part of Chinese culture.
It is a time for Chinese people to honour their ancestors by visiting their graves and sweeping and cleaning the tombs. In addition, the descendants will also offer food, flowers, and incense. First, however, it would be best to observe some customs and etiquettes during Qing Ming Festivals to show our respect and gratitude to their ancestors for their contributions to the family and society.
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What is Qing Ming Festival?
You can trace the origins of Qing Ming back to the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE) as a day for commemorating the ancestors of noble families. However, the general population later adopted this Chinese festival during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE), and the Chinese have celebrated it ever since.
Qing Ming Festival is also associated with the Chinese philosophy of filial piety, which emphasizes respect for one’s parents and ancestors.
Therefore, during Qing Ming Festival, people usually start their day by offering food, tea, and incense at the graves of their ancestors. In addition, many families also burn joss paper as an offering to the ancestors. The paper is often shaped like money, gold ingots, or other items the ancestors might need in the afterlife.
After the offerings have been made, people usually conduct tomb sweeping, but it is uncommon in Singapore.
Qing Ming Festival Do’s and Don’ts
As Qing Ming Festival is an important event in Chinese culture, you must follow certain do’s and don’ts. Therefore, in this article, we will list some essential do’s and don’ts of the Qing Ming Festival so that you can ensure you are honouring the deceased appropriately.
1. Be Serious and Respectful
Tomb-sweeping is a solemn and sacred tradition that the Chinese have practised for centuries. It is a way to honour our ancestors and show them respect and gratitude for their sacrifices. So, never take this festival lightly or treat it as a joke.
Therefore, you should always do so with the utmost respect when offering at the tomb. These actions include being mindful of how you speak, dress, and behave while in the presence of your ancestors.
2. Choose the Right Clothing’s Colour
Moreover, wearing red shirts and shoes during Qing Ming Festival is inappropriate and should be avoided unless you want to get an earful from older adults. Some believed that wearing red in Qing Ming could bring bad luck and disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of the event.
Instead, people should opt for more muted colours like white or black to show respect for their ancestors.
3. No Inappropriate Actions Please
During the Qing Ming Festival, it is critical to observe your code of conduct as an utmost respect for your ancestors. For example, you must not urine or spit at will near the place of offering. Besides, remain silent and do make any loud noises or jokes. In addition, don’t consume the food offering right after prayers.
All these actions are signs of disrespect and can be seen as an insult to the deceased so avoid them at all cost.
4. Pregnant Woman To be Excused
Ancestor worship is a not-missed tradition in Chinese traditions and cultures, but pregnant women are typically excluded from participating in tomb festivals such as Qing Ming and Chong Yang. It is due to the belief that pregnant women are more vulnerable to spiritual influences and could bring bad luck to their families.
As a result, people usually advise pregnant women against attending tomb festivals as they can be considered disrespectful to their ancestors.
5. Pay Attention to Timing of Offering
The ideal time for visiting a grave is from sunrise until around 3 pm, allowing us to take advantage of the Yang energy that comes with this period. Many believe that the Yang energy from the daylight benefits humans, and the Yin energy after sunset makes it easier for someone down on luck to run into spiritual “friends”.
6. Keep Your Camera Away
Taking photos near the tomb during Qing Ming Festival or any other time is considered disrespectful. People see it as a way of disturbing the dead and showing disrespect for the dead.
In addition, the Chinese believe that taking pictures near the tomb can bring bad luck and can even cause harm to those who take the photos.
7. No Joyous Celebrations During This Period
The Qing Ming festival is a solemn time of mourning and remembrance for the Chinese people. On the other hand, weddings are joyous occasions. Therefore, you should respect and honour the deceased who have passed away by not holding any weddings during this period.