Episode 17 Companion No. 1: Qingming Jie

Tomb Sweeping Festival –  清明节 – traces back to Duke Wen of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period, first known as the Cold Foods Festival – 寒食節.

 

Here is an overview of the cemetery mountains used for a particular village outside of Wenzhou, Zhejiang.  The mountains are covered with family tombs.

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Though from the first shot they may appear small, they’re actually all quite large.Image

 

Foods are ritually offered to the deceased (and taken back down the mountain at the end of the ceremony, when they’ve had their fill), and the tombs are clear of brush and debris by family members.  The fire behind the table is spirit money – that, sheets of paper coins – burned to send to Heaven for use by the ancestors.

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prayers to the ancestors are offered by the whole family.  Afterward, everyone descends and has a large meal together… of different foods than the ones offered to the spirits.

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