National Tomb Sweeping Day

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April features national Tomb Sweeping Day in China. It’s a one-day holiday to pay respect to ancestors.

I’m alert to this because I’m busy packing my bag for China and planning a good (respectful) rummage around to see what I can find our about their culture, traditions and relationship with death and dying.

On Tomb Sweeping Day, aka Clear Brightness Festival and Taqing Festival, everyone’s off. Families visit graveyards. Celebrate lives lost. The gone but not forgotten.

The tradition began during the Zhou Dynasty and has also been called the Cold Food Festival. (Sounds like Boxing Day.)

The Tang emperor changed it to a sweeping day. He brought the gift of fire to life for his officials. (What a superhero.) He’d light a fire and give lit branches to his team to take home. In the later Song Dynasty, they moved onto candles instead.

I like that they bother. Maybe we need to rethink how we do Remembrance Sunday. Take a day for reflection. Walk in the country. Visit graves. Plant a tree. Fly a kite. 

We have contacts in our Marketplace who can tend graves for you if you don’t live near your old family home.

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