Qing Ming Festival

Today, most schools, public administration and some Chinese businesses will close their doors. China starts celebrating a 3 day observance for the annual Qing Ming festival. The day was usually celebrated in Macau and Hong Kong and has become an official holiday in mainland China in 2008.

清明节 (Qīngmíng Jié), literally translated as clear and bright festival is also know as ‘Tomb Sweeping Festival’. You may have noticed, temperatures are raising, trees are blossoming and the spring spirit brings a smooth transition into summer after a rude and cold winter. The festival is the most appropriate moment for family to gather around their ancestor’s tomb and pay tribute to their lives and hope that good fortune will come for the living ones.

At IntuuChina for instance, our employee Irene will set sail for a long journey to the outskirts of Shanghai from 5AM. Apart from cleaning the tomb and offering wine and food to the deceased, one of the most striking feature of QingMing festival is the burning of fake banknotes and small artefacts made with cardboard and paper such as fake luxury bags, ipads, houses, pricey shoes and even houses. After a morning of commemoration, the family will then eat in a restaurant. They will then gather around 青团 (qīngtuán), a steamed gelatinous green bun filled with a sweet red bean paste. The day can be a very intense emotional journey but the family bounds grow stronger. Chinese would also fly kites and attach little paper lamps during the dark hours. Overall, it is a fun day of remembrance and paring respect to the deceased.

Wondering how the burnt paper object look like? As a bonus, here is the art project of Item Idem, a French artist from New York. He composed a stunning video, with Chinese artist Cheng Ran, displaying those objects exploding and catching fire in a dramatic way.