4th April 2012 at 7 minutes past 5pm marks the start of the Qing Ming Festival. This deeply entrenched Chinese cultural heritage is an event to pay respects, cherish and honor loved ones who have departed.
Dating back 732 AD, the observance of this day is for all to visit and clean up the resting place of those who have left us. Besides the food, tea and sacrificial offerings, Qing Ming also brings one the unique opportunity to connect and plan ahead for the year.
After all, Qing Ming is also symbolic of the rebirth of nature. The fifth seasonal meridian and the 104th day after the Winter Solstice of the Chinese Solar Calendar, Qing Ming heralds the rise of temperature, increase rainfall, spring sowing and a time for looking ahead.
While it is practiced as a somber occasion, Qing Ming is celebrated equally as a time to embrace the warmth of spring and celebrate the gathering of family and friends. The very essence of this day is one that is ‘clear and bright’.
Perhaps, none captures it better than the Tang Dynasty poet Du Mu (杜牧) who pens the evergreen mood of this day.
'A drizzle randomly falls as if it is tears on a Day of Remembrance
Travelers on their way heave as their souls embrace the musky spring
Where is there a wine place that I can place my sorrow and hopes?
The Cowherd casually points to the direction of the Village of the Apricots'.